Ending Isolation and Precautions for Persons with COVID-19

From the Florida Department of Health

Growing evidence supports ending isolation and precautions for persons with COVID-19 using a symptom-based strategy rather than a test-based strategy. This update includes recent evidence of the period of isolation and precautions recommended to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to others while limiting prolonged isolation and unnecessary use of laboratory testing resources.


The most critical changes are these:

  1. Except for rare situations, a test-based strategy (acquiring a negative test result) is no longer recommended to determine when an individual with COVID-19 infection is no longer infectious and can no longer spread the virus to others.


  1. Symptom-based criteria were modified as follows:
  2. Changed from “at least 72 hours” to now “at least 24 hours” have passed since last fever without the use of fever-reducing medications
  3. Changed from “improvement in respiratory symptoms” to “improvement in symptoms,” to address the growing list of symptoms (nausea, diarrhea, etc.) associated with COVID-19.


Employers should utilize the new symptom-based criteria to determine if an employee can return to work rather than the test-based strategy (requiring a negative test result to return to work). The test-based strategy has proven not as effective and unnecessary use of testing materials. The symptom-based strategy is more effective in determining a person’s probability of spreading COVID-19 and if they are safe to return to work.