Business Guidance / Insurance Protection

Dear HR – How to Handle an Employee’s Positive COVID Test

As restrictions continue to be lifted and “COVID fatigue” accelerates, it is important for employers to continue to manage the challenges presented by the pandemic. Here is some insight on current quarantine guidelines that may help you navigate the ongoing pandemic.

For those who may have been exposed – if they have not been vaccinated or have not had COVID-19 within the past three months and were in “close contact” with the employee, they’ll need to get tested and wait until a negative test result is confirmed before returning to their work location. If the test result is positive, they’ll need to follow the quarantine guidelines. If those in close contact have been vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 in the past 3 months, they’re permitted to go back to their work location according to the guidelines and don’t have to follow the above protocol.

While CDC and state guidelines still call for a 14-day quarantine period from the date of first symptoms, recently published options can reduce quarantining per the Pennsylvania Department of Health:

  • 10 days since first symptoms
  • Symptoms have improved
  • 72 hours with no fever

Close contact is generally defined as being within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more during a 24-hour period. It also includes:

  • Providing care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19
  • Coming into direct physical contact (hugged or kissed them)
  • Sharing eating or drinking utensils
  • Being exposed to respiratory droplets (sneezed or coughed on you)

Managing the many responsibilities that fall to human resources coupled with the challenges presented by the pandemic can be difficult. The HR Consulting Practice at Univest Insurance provides clients with a broad range of HR compliance, operational and payroll services. To learn more about how they can support your HR team, contact us at 267.646.4467or


Insurance products offered through Univest Insurance, LLC. are obligations of the issuing insurance companies, not obligations or deposits of or guaranteed by any bank and are not insured by the FDIC or any other agency of the United States.