COVID-19 Return to Work

'Return to Work' Information for Employers 

Due to the significant number of COVID-19 positive cases, the Lenawee County Health Department does not provide documentation clearing individuals from COVID-19 related quarantine and isolation. 

Per Michigan’s Public Act 339, employees must not report to work if they have symptoms of COVID-19, or test positive for COVID-19, or are a close-contact to someone who is COVID-19 positive.  Certain groups of employees are exempted from quarantine if they are asymptomatic.   More detail can be found here: 

The following information provides guidance on isolation, quarantine, close contacts and when employees can safely return to work. 

COVID-19 Information for Employers on When Employees can Return to Work 

Isolation: Employee had COVID-19

If an employee tested positive or was exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 and was in isolation, that employee is considered no longer contagious and may return to work if they meet the following three criteria:

  • It has been at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared or 10 days from the date of their test if no symptoms and
  • They have had no fever for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and
  • Their other COVID-19 symptoms are improving. The loss of taste and smell may last for weeks or months, so that is not a reason to continue to isolate.

Employers are strongly encouraged to conduct a health screening call with employees before allowing them to return to work. This is the same type of screening call that a health department official would conduct prior to issuing a “release from isolation” letter. The screener should ask:

  • Has it been at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared or 10 days from the date of their test if no symptoms? and
  • Have you been fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication? and
  • Are your other COVID-19 symptoms are improving?

A negative COVID-19 test SHOULD NOT BE REQUIRED for an employee to return to work. Someone may test positive for COVID-19 for several weeks after illness. In general, people aren’t able to infect others past 10 days from when their symptoms started. Exceptions to this include those who are hospitalized or immunocompromised and require a longer isolation period. See for further discussion and references.

For more information on isolation, please visit the CDC web page on this topic.

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  • A close contact is defined as someone who has been within 6 feet of a COVID-19 positive individual for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24 hour period while the COVID-19 positive individual was contagious.  
  • Individuals who live in the same house as a COVID positive person must quarantine for 10 days after the last day of close contact. If the COVID positive household member cannot isolate away from others in the home, then the last day of close contact is considered the last day that any COVID positive individual in the home was contagious. Additional information available here.
  • A person with COVID-19 is considered contagious starting 2 days before they started having symptoms and continuing until the end of their isolation (see previous section on isolation). If they never have symptoms, they are considered contagious starting 2 day before their COVID-19 test was performed and continuing until the end of their isolation (see previous section on isolation).
  • Close contacts should get tested 5-7 days after last exposure, regardless of whether they are vaccinated. 

Quarantine: Employee had close contact with someone with COVID-19 

Quarantine keeps someone who might have been exposed to the virus away from others. Close contacts should quarantine as follows: 

  • They should quarantine away from others for 10 days from their date of last exposure to a COVID-19 positive individual. For quarantine purposes, the last date of close contact is considered day 0.  The following day is day 1, the day after that is day 2, etc.  See table below. 
  • They should get tested 5-7 days after last exposure. 
  • The quarantined individual can return to normal activities on day 11, but should monitor for symptoms through day 14. 
  • If they do not develop any symptoms during this time period, they can return to normal activities on day 11. However, they must continue to watch for symptoms through day 14.
  • If they develop symptoms of COVID-19 at any point during the 14-day time period, they should isolate away from others and follow the guidance for isolation described previously.
  • An individual currently cannot test out of quarantine. Even if they receive a negative test result, they must complete their full quarantine.


  • Individuals who are fully vaccinated* and do not have symptoms, do not need to quarantine.  
    • They should get tested 5-7 days after last exposure. 
    • They should wear a mask in indoor public settings for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result taken at least 5 days after last exposure to the COVID-19 positive individual.
    • They should monitor for symptoms for 14 days.  
    • If they develop symptoms, they must isolate immediately. Testing is recommended.  
    • If they test positive, they should isolate for 10 days. 
    • *Fully vaccinated means that over two weeks have passed since either receipt of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, or from receipt of the second dose of Moderna or Pfizer vaccines. The completed vaccine card can be used as documentation. Or, an individual can access and print a copy of their vaccination record by visiting:   

Individuals who were previously diagnosed with COVID-19, do not need to quarantine if they do not have symptoms AND they have recovered from COVID-19 within the previous 90 days, measured from the date of symptom onset (or, if no symptoms, the date of the first positive test).  Documentation of a previous positive test from a provider, such as a pharmacy or community testing site or healthcare provider, can be used to make this determination. Antibody tests cannot be used to exempt someone from quarantine. Antibody testing cannot be used to accurately determine immunity.

  • They should wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days following exposure.
  • They should monitor for COVID-19 symptoms and isolate immediately if symptoms develop.
  • They should consult with a healthcare provider for testing recommendations if new symptoms develop.

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For All Employers

For information about COVID and workplace safety, visit MIOSHA's website

More information: 

Quarantine and Isolation Calculator

COVID-19 Symptoms

When Can I Be Around Others Again?

Testing Locations

Vaccination Locations

Quarantine and Isolation Information from the CDC


Lenawee County Health Department

517-264-5226, option 5