Dr. Carlos Choucino, an infectious disease physician at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital, said the CDC has made changes to testing requirements for those seeking to go back to work after a positive COVID-19 diagnosis.
He said medical experts are learning as they go, so it is not uncommon to see changes in “procedures and protocols” as more information is obtained.
Prior to the changes anyone who tested positive required a PCR test, with a negative result, before being allowed to go back to work. New data has come to light with regard to the length of time the virus is detectable. Choucino said the virus has shown up in tests of people who recovered from COVID-19 three months prior.
“They (the tests) are picking up small pieces of the virus, but this can not be transmitted to others,” he said. “So, even though you might still find it, they are not contagious.”
The CDC says a person is eligible to return to work if they meet the following criteria:
• If you have been symptom free for at least 10 days, at least one of them without the assistance of a fever reducer like Tylenol or Advil.
• If you have experienced an improvement in symptoms of any kind to include headache, diarrhea, confusion, cough.
• If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, but have not experienced symptoms, you must wait 10 days from the date of your test before returning to work.
For those who have had COVID-19 with severe symptoms, including the need for oxygen, or a ventilator, hospitalization for low blood pressure, multi-organ failure; you must wait 20 days before returning, with at least one 24 hour period of no fever without the use of medication.
This also applies to those who are severely immuno-supressed, defined by the CDC as anyone who is getting chemotherapy, any HIV-positive patient who is not on treatment and has a CD4 count of 200, anyone with a primary immune deficiency, or anyone required to take 20 mg of Prednisone daily for at least two or more weeks.