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Employees who test positive for COVID-19 may return to work after 10-day isolation; no need for another test

August 4, 2020

SOLANO COUNTY – As widespread community transmission of COVID-19 continues, the Solano County Health and Social Services Department, Public Health division, advises businesses and employers against requiring evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result for returning to work safely. Individuals who have been ill and isolating at home can end isolation 10 days after onset of symptoms, or 10 days after their testing date for those who do not have symptoms at all.

“Anyone who tested positive and has isolated for 10 days from the date that their symptoms began is no longer infectious, even if some may have lingering symptoms,” said Bela Matyas, M.D., M.P.H., Solano County Health Officer. “We understand that businesses have concerns about employees returning to the workplace; however, retesting is unnecessary to prove that employees can no longer spread the disease. Once the 10-day isolation has been completed, employees may return to work.”

Most people with confirmed COVID-19 will continue to have positive test results for several weeks, even though they are no longer infectious. In many situations, remnants of dead virus particles remain in the body for several weeks, and can cause a positive test result; however, 10 days after symptoms began, individuals can no longer transmit the virus. Retesting unnecessarily prolongs the time for people to be out of work and adds to the already significant backlog and processing times for COVID-19 testing.

In general, Solano Public Health discourages non-healthcare facilities and employers from requiring a clearance letter to return to work. If the 10-day isolation criteria have been met, then there is no need for a verification for returning to work. Healthcare facilities may have additional policies and procedures for healthcare workers, and their employees are advised to check with their occupational safety program for more information.

Solano Public Health and Solano Environmental Health have created guidelines for businesses and employers on how to keep their employees and workplace environment safe for the following situations, such as:

What to do when an employee tests positive
n  Identifying close contacts who may have been exposed
n  Disinfecting and cleaning a workplace setting
n  Other general and ongoing recommendations

Solano County Public Health encourages all residents to continue to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, California Department of Public Health and Solano County Public Health social distancing best practices, including wearing a cloth face mask outside your home whenever physical distancing cannot be maintained, maintaining a physical distance of six-feet from others, practicing coughing and sneezing etiquette, using a hand sanitizer or washing your hands for at least 20 seconds and to stay at home if you’re not feeling well.

For more information about these guidelines, visit: (Employer guidance)

For more information visit the Solano County Public Health website at and on Facebook at (@SolanoCountyPH).

CDC FAQs for businesses:

Visit the Solano County website at to view the updated stay-at-home health order and directive, to access business industry guidance documents and the most recent COVID-19 health information, including the number of COVID-19 cases in Solano County.