Division Title

​COVID Assessment & Testing

What To Do If You Test Positive?

Risk-based work restriction (e.g. removal from onsite work) recommendations are complex and based on many factors including, but not limited to, your work location and duties, the circumstances of exposure to a person with COVID-19, vaccination history, underlying health conditions that could increase the chance of infecting others, and more. Thus, the guidance below is general and it is possible that based on these factors, you may be restricted from performing onsite work up to 10 days or possibly longer due to your specific situation. This guidance applies to all positive COVID-19 tests, whether they are from NIH testing services, community-based COVID-19 testing, or at-home antigen tests.

In general, for non-healthcare personnel, individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 and had symptoms may return to working onsite after 5 full days from the onset of symptoms (day 0 being the day of symptom onset, regardless of when the individual was tested), once they are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication.

Personnel with direct patient contact may have more stringent return-to-work requirements and will be directed by OMS after they report their positive test result.

Staff who work in healthcare settings are subject to different work restrictions which also take into account a facility's operating status (e.g., conventional, contingency, or crisis).  COVID-19-related guidance for healthcare worker return-to-work policies are located on the CDC website.

Leave for Personnel that Test Positive

The Safer Federal Workforce FAQs state that employees isolated after a positive COVID -19 diagnosis may request sick leave if they are unable to telework. Weather and Safety leave is no longer available for this purpose. Employees may also request accrued annual leave or other forms of paid or unpaid leave. https://www.saferfederalworkforce.gov/faq/leave/

Work-Related COVID-19 Cases

All work-related COVID-19 cases should be reported to OMS to be logged within 24 hours. The COVID-19 log contains, for each instance, all information required by OSHA under the OSHA Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illness standard (29 CFR 1904), including the employee's name, one form of contact information, occupation, location where the employee worked, the date of the employee's last day at the workplace, the date of the positive test for, or diagnosis of, COVID-19, and the date the employee first had one or more COVID-19 symptoms, if any were experienced. This information is a confidential medical record. However, personnel may request their record by contacting the OMS. A redacted version of all cases is also available upon request.


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