SANTA FE– Because of an exponential and unsustainable increase in requests, the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) will no longer provide individual letters to employees in order to leave or return to work after testing positive for COVID-19.
In place of individualized letters, the department is pointing employees and employers to the state’s public health guidance and requirements for quarantine and isolation for both employees and employers.
That guidance is outlined below – and all of the information is located on the www.nmhealth.org and www.cv.nmhealth.org websites.
Please note the guidelines:
For employees who have been exposed to a person who is positive for COVID-19:
If a person has been exposed to someone with COVID-19, there is a 14-day period during which they might become infected. That is sometimes called the “incubation period” for the disease. The 14 days runs from the last date they had a close contact with the person with COVID-19. People who have had an exposure must quarantine at home for 14 days. Further information is available here: Policies for the Prevention and Control of COVID-19 in New Mexico.
For employees who have tested positive for COVID-19:
When a person is diagnosed with COVID-19 they must remain isolated at home until they are no longer infectious. Some people with COVID-19 have symptoms while others do not. The best approach to determining when isolation can be discontinued is based on when symptoms begin or, for those who don’t have symptoms, the time since the positive COVID-19 test was collected. Requiring a negative test to allow someone to return to work can be problematic because people may intermittently shed non-infectious virus after they are no longer infectious. NMDOH does NOT recommend employers require employees to provide proof of a negative test before they may return to work.
For persons with confirmed COVID-19 who had symptoms
Maintain isolation at home until all three of the following criteria are met:
- At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared; AND,
- At least 1 day (24 hours) has passed with no fever without the use of fever reducing medication; AND,
- Symptoms have improved
For persons with confirmed COVID-19 who did not have any symptoms
- Maintain isolation at home until at least ten days have passed since the specimen for the positive test was taken.
NMDOH recommends employers use the recommendations above in conjunction with an employee’s test results to determine if and when it is safe for them to resume regular activities, including work. If an employer needs assistance making this determination, they may call the NMDOH COVID-19 hotline at 1-855-600-3453. Further information is available here: Policies for the Prevention and Control of COVID-19 in New Mexico