Employees who travel. Test to allow back to office?

Has anyone faced how to deal with employees who take a vacation and travel by airplane out of state or the country when they return? I am faced with one employee planning a trip to Mexico and another to Texas. Our practice is in California. The Covid case load is high in our area so masks and screenings are mandatory. Are these employees safe to return to work as soon as they return? Should they observe the 14 day quarantine before returning to work? Should they make sure they test negative before returning to work? I am seeking guidance from our Public Health Department but the recommendations so far are not clear to me, it seems there are gray zones left to interpretation.
Our office faced a closure for a week already when one employee had a positive exposure, and I did not open back up until everyone tested negative. Has anyone had a similar experience? How did you handle it? I can’t afford to close down again…

My understanding is that travel to areas of high risk necessitates quarantine for 14 days. Since these sound like elective travel/vacations, as opposed to travel you are requiring for work, or for compassionate leave (i.e. attending a family funeral in Mexico/Texas), you could require that staff who want to do this also have enough paid leave to cover the quarantine period. Since no staff member wants to use up their vacation time to sit in quarantine, you’ll probably get very few takers.


I have one staff who will be traveling to Florida. 14 days quarantine planned ahead for that employee. You can’t take chances with that!
Not sure about unemployment??/vacation. That can be figured out but MUST quarantine. Regarding testing, no need to test if not symptomatic. Even if negative, you still need to quarantine for 14 days.

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Thank you! That helps a lot!

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Thank you so much for your help Dr Berman!

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Two weeks ago cdc updated return to work protocol for HCW. Appears that everything is a determinate of symptom and not prophylactic testing. Still question the resolve of leisure air travel. Definately make them wear a tight 95 100% of time in clinic. Press is primed to flagate a medical office that acts as a vector

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It’s not worth the risk for sure.

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Found the Explanation for my question on the CDC link you sent for anyone in the same situation.

Can you provide the link for this screenshot? I can’t find it on CDC

It’s under the link posted by Medzec, under new travel recommendations. It took a bit of digging, but here it is:

Hope this helps

I think a hospital would let her work if masked and shield… all our employees now work in mask and shield . I would be shocked if it’s legal for us to say they can’t take a vacation and I thought we had to cover all covid leave after Sick time and vaca is used up in exchange for a tax credit ?? Nothing seems very fair in the time of covid -

Hi, Yes i had a similar situation. One employee traveled to WIsconsin which is considered a hot zone for chicago where you have to quarantine for 14 days upon return. I had her quarantine and she returned to work. I have empolyees attest to covid questions daily. I was severely understaffed but made the most of it. Cant cut corners during a pandemic.

Thank you Yolanda

Lilia F. Coppa, MD, FAAP