On January 11, 2021, the NH Department of Health and Human Services updated its New Hampshire COVID-19 Employer Travel, Screening, and Exclusion Guidance for employers and workplaces. The guidance updates some exceptions to the quarantine requirements related to those who have been vaccinated and those who have more recently tested positive for the coronavirus.
Specifically, the guidance on page 3 provides that the following individuals do not need to quarantine either after travel outside of New England or after close contact exposure to someone who tested positive with COVID-19:
- Persons who are 14 days beyond the second dose of their COVID19 vaccine (i.e., 14 days after full vaccination).
- Persons who are within 90 days of a prior SARS-CoV-2 infection that was diagnosed by PCR or antigen testing (if a person had a previous infection that was more than 90 days prior, then they are still subject to quarantine).
The individuals who fall into one of the two above categories, however, must still follow coronavirus protective protocols and procedures (i.e., six feet of social distancing, wearing of face masks, avoiding large gatherings, maintaining good hygiene) and monitor their symptoms. The Isolation and Quarantine Summary Chart have also been updated to include this new quarantine information.
The previous exceptions to quarantine following close contact with someone with COVID-19 or risks related to essential travel remain in place. Again, to be eligible for one of the listed exceptions, the employees must meet all the listed criteria. DHHS also continues to advise employers that these exceptions should not be the standard practice.
The updated guidance makes reference the new and apparently more infectious strains of the virus. It also provides a link to the NH Division of Public Health Services general travel and quarantine guidance for residents and visitors to New Hampshire.
With the vaccines rolling out, and more positive cases being reported, employers should review this new guidance from the DHHS.