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  • Katherine T. McCarley

NYSDOH Interim Updated Isolation And Quarantine Guidance

On December 27, 2021, the Center for Disease and Control Prevention (“CDC”) issued a press release to provide updated recommendations related to COVID-19 procedures on isolation and quarantine for the general public. The CDC also indicated that additional guidance for the general public and special settings like schools, higher education and congregate living settings would be forthcoming.


On January 4, 2022, New York State Department of Health (“NYSDOH”) released an updated guidance, adopting CDC’s recommendations on isolation and quarantine for the general public. This updated guidance overrules NYSDOH’s previous update on shortened isolation periods for healthcare workers and other essential workers. Caveat: The healthcare worker portions of NYSDOH’s previous update are still in effect (click here for that blog article). Essential workers who are not healthcare workers are instructed to follow NYSDOH’s new guidance, which is outlined below.


New York State Department of Health Recommendations


The General Public


Individuals who are moderately-severely immunocompromised or who are unable to wear a well-fitting mask for five days after the isolation period are to follow the standard isolation guidance, which state individuals are to isolate and quarantine for 10 days.


Generally, isolation is recommended for five days. Day 0 is the day of symptom onset, if symptomatic. If asymptomatic, Day 0 is the day a positive specimen is collected. At the end of the five-day isolation period, asymptomatic individuals should wear a well-fitted mask while around others for an additional five days. An individual should test at day five with a nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) or antigen test. If symptoms appear, individuals are advised to quarantine and seek testing. In this instance, quarantine would end when the individual tests negative for COVID-19.


If an individual is exposed to COVID-19 and fully vaccinated[1]:

  • Day 0 is the last date of exposure

  • Quarantine is not required

  • Wear a well-fitting mask for 10 days after the date of exposure while around others

If an individual is exposed to COVID-19 and is not fully vaccinated:

  • Day 0 is the last date of exposure

  • Quarantine for five days

  • Wear a well-fitting face mask for five days after the isolation period ends while around others

Specific Settings

1. Schools. Schools are advised to follow current NYS school guidance regarding school attendance unless the local health department issues an alternative guidance for the school community.

2. Congregate Settings. Congregate care settings are advised to follow guidance issued by the local health department. If there has been no guidance from the local health department and in the absence of staff shortages, these individuals are to follow standard isolation guidance. If these settings are experiencing staff shortages, exposed or infected staff may return to work in accordance with the general isolation guidelines above.

Note: An individual’s work restrictions may be different from their isolation and quarantine requirements[2].


NYSDOH has stated that additional updates to these guidelines may be coming as CDC’s recommendations become available for the Department’s review and consideration.


If you have any questions regarding this article, or if you have any Labor & Employment Law concerns, please contact the Underberg & Kessler attorney who regularly handles your legal matters or Katherine T. McCarley, the author of this piece, here or at (585)258-2820.



[1] Fully vaccinated is defined as having received a single dose of Janssen or a double dose of an mRNA vaccine and exposure occurs two weeks or more after receiving a booster if booster eligible.
[2] Work restrictions only pertain to when an individual may return to work. Isolation and quarantine requirements pertain to an individual’s day-to-day activities in the community.

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