Return to Work Guidelines (COVID-19)

19 Mar 2020 | 10th Marine Regiment


To help prevent the spread of 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the community, Department of Defense (DoD) Commanders in coordination with medical experts have instituted transmission-based precautions.  Transmission-based precautions include stay home from work policy, restriction of movement (ROM), quarantine, and isolation.  Personnel who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness should notify their supervisor and avoid going to work.  Personnel who have a high risk exposure to COVID-19 or who have traveled to high risk locations as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) with ongoing community transmission of COVID-19 (Travel Health Notice Levels 2 or 3) should be placed under restriction of movement (ROM) or quarantine.  Personnel who are found to be infected with COVID-19 should be placed under isolation at a healthcare facility, home, or another designated isolation facility.  

The decision to discontinue transmission-based precautions and allow personnel to return to work (RTW) is based on weighing the overall risks of severe illness and death; balancing the potential benefits of decreasing transmission through the exclusion of ill persons with minimizing social disruption. This guidance will continue to be updated as more information becomes available.


After travel to a high risk location or close contact with COVID-19 positive patient, personnel may RTW if no symptoms develop after 14 days since the date of departure from high risk location or the last date of high risk exposure to the individual with COVID-19, if they remain free of symptoms. You cannot test-out of quarantine; you must remain in quarantine for the full 14-day incubation period


Patient Under Investigation (PUI)

A PUI is defined as an individual with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and high risk exposure from travel or close contact; OR based on clinician’s judgement. After being identified as a PUI, personnel may RTW when they meet the following criteria:

  • Completion of the required 14-day ROM/Quarantine period (if placed under ROM for high risk expose); and  Negative COVID-19 test; and
  • Symptom free for at least 24 hours


Confirmed COVID-19 Case

After being diagnosed with COVID-19, personnel may RTW using one of the following clearance criteria:

  1. Using a FDA Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) approved test:
    • Resolution of fever, without use of fever-reducing medication (e.g. Tylenol®, ibuprofen); and o            Improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); and o    Negative results from at least two consecutive nasopharyngeal swab specimens collected ≥24 hours apart (total of two negative specimens)
  2. Unable to get FDA EUA approved test (i.e. OCONUS facility using foreign national laboratories, or mild symptoms unable to obtain clearance test):
    • At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); and
    • At least 7 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

Other Acute Respiratory Illness (i.e. flu and influenza like illnesses):

Stay Home from Work

Personnel who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness are recommended to stay home and not report to work until they are free of the following for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants):

  • Fever (100.4° F [38° C] or greater using an oral thermometer)
  • Signs of a fever (shivering, shaking, chills, body aches, headaches, excessive sweating, etc.) 
  • Any other symptoms (sore throat, persistent cough, sinus congestion, fatigue, etc.)


Chemical Biological Incident Response Force