CDC Changes COVID Guidance

March 11, 2024

By: Colin A. Walker

The CDC has revised its guidance for COVID, explaining “CDC is making updates to the recommendations now because the U.S. is seeing far fewer hospitalizations and deaths associated with COVID-19 and because we have more tools than ever to combat flu, COVID, and RSV.”  

The revised guidance recommends treating COVID like other respiratory viruses like the flu. It no longer recommends a 5-day isolation period. Instead, the CDC recommends “returning to normal activities when, for at least 24 hours, symptoms are improving overall, and if a fever was present, it has been gone without use of a fever-reducing medication.” However, it recommends other measures, “such as taking more steps for cleaner air, enhancing hygiene practices, wearing a well-fitting mask, keeping a distance from others, and/or getting tested for respiratory viruses.” The new guidance does not apply to healthcare settings, which are covered by other guidance issued by the CDC.
Colorado employers should be aware that the Public Health Employee Whistleblower Act (known as “PHEW”) prohibits retaliation against employees and independent contractors who complain about an employer’s failure to follow public health procedures and against discriminating against employees and independent contractors who follow such procedures, such as wearing PPE.  And, while the public health emergency requirements of the Colorado Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (“HFWA”) have ended, HFWA’s normal paid leave provisions, which require employers to provide employees with up to 48 hours of paid leave per year for certain family and medical issues, are in effect. 
It is tempting to believe that the COVID pandemic is over, but, clearly, that is not the case yet. COVID still poses a threat, and employers must take proper precautions to protect workers, customers, vendors and others. Failure to do so could result in liability under the laws discussed above and others such as workers compensation laws and OSHA.