On March 5, at CHA’s request, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) revised All Facilities Letter 21-08 to adopt the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) guidance that — as a strategy to alleviate staffing shortages — hospitals can forgo quarantining vaccinated health care personnel following a high-risk exposure if they are fully vaccinated, were vaccinated in the last three months, and are asymptomatic.
CDPH also notes that the CDC will update its quarantine recommendations for vaccinated persons — including the criteria for timing since receipt of the last dose in the vaccination series — when more data become available and additional COVID-19 vaccines are authorized.
Specifically, the CDC and now CDPH recommend that, as an additional strategy for alleviating staffing shortages, hospitals may consider allowing vaccinated health care personnel with a higher risk exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 to continue to work onsite during their post-exposure period if they meet all the following criteria per updated CDC guidance:
- The staff are fully vaccinated (i.e., ≥two weeks following receipt of the second dose in a two-dose series, or ≥two weeks following receipt of one dose of a single-dose vaccine).
- The staff are within three months following receipt of the last dose in the series.
- They have remained asymptomatic since the current COVID-19 exposure.
Health care personnel meeting the three criteria above would not be required to quarantine outside of work. Health care personnel who do not meet all three of the above criteria should continue to follow current quarantine guidance after a higher risk exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
For background, on Feb. 10, the CDC updated its COVID-19 vaccination guidance to address quarantine of vaccinated persons. On Feb. 16, it revised its guidance on health care personnel with potential exposure to SARS-CoV-2 to incorporate these changes.
On March 8, the CDC also released Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People. They provide recommendations for visiting with others in private settings, isolation, quarantine, and testing. These recommendations explicitly do not apply to health care settings.