January 5, 2022

DOH updates work restriction for healthcare personnel with exposure to COVID-19

The Department of Health released new PAHAN 616 today that replaces PAHAN 596 on the guidance for work restrictions for Healthcare Personnel.

 Due to concerns about increased transmissibility of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant, this guidance is being updated to enhance protection for healthcare personnel (HCP), patients, and visitors, and to address concerns about potential impacts on the healthcare system given a surge of SARS-CoV-2 infections. These updates will be refined as additional information becomes available to inform recommended actions. Updates include: 

  • • The definition of higher-risk exposure was updated to include use of a facemask (instead of a respirator) by HCP if the infected person is not also wearing a facemask or cloth mask. 
  • • Added options to mitigate staffing shortages that would allow asymptomatic HCP with a higher-risk exposure who have not received all COVID-19 vaccine doses, including booster dose, as recommended by CDC to return to work prior to the previously recommended 14-day post-exposure period of work restriction, assuming they do not develop symptoms or test positive for SARS-CoV-2. 

This guidance replaces PA-HAN-596. Additions are written in red. If you have additional questions about this guidance, please contact DOH at 1-877-PA- HEALTH (1-877-724-3258) or your local health departm 

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