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EO 2020-172 Provides Clarification on COVID Symptoms

August 27, 2020

As we had anticipated, the Governor has issued a new executive order to replace EO 2020-166, an order that gave us many concerns. While the main purpose of that executive order seemed to be focused on worker employment protection measures, our primary concerns were centered around an expansion of the definition of symptoms that required an employee to quarantine. Those primary concerns have been addressed.

The new executive order (2020-172) separates out primary and secondary symptoms of COVID-19 and allows for judgement when symptoms are associated with a known, non-COVID-19 medical or physical condition. Section 7(a) defines the symptoms of COVID-19 as:

 “The principal symptoms of COVID-19” are (i) any one of the following not explained by a known medical or physical condition: fever, an uncontrolled cough, shortness of breath; or (ii) at least two of the following not explained by a known medical or physical condition: loss of taste or smell, muscle aches (“myalgia”), sore throat, severe headache, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain.

With respect to quarantine (including not performing in person work), executive order 2020-172 requires:

That any and all individuals who test positive for COVID-19 or who display the principal symptoms of COVID-19 should (apart from seeking medical care) remain in their home or place of residence until:

(a) 24 hours have passed since the resolution of fever without the use of fever- reducing medications;

(b) 10 days have passed since their symptoms first appeared or since they were swabbed for the test that yielded the positive result; and

(c) other symptoms have improved.

And:

That any and all people who have had close contact with an individual who tests positive for COVID-19 or with an individual who displays the principal symptoms of COVID-19 should remain in their home or place of residence (apart from seeking medical care) until either:

(a) 14 days have passed since the last close contact with the sick or symptomatic individual; or

(b) The individual displaying COVID-19 symptoms receives a negative COVID-19 test.

For the purposes of this order, “close contact” means being within six feet of an individual for fifteen minutes.

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