Guide for the investigation of cases and contract tracing for COVID-19

On May 12, 2022, the Puerto Rico Department of Health updated the Guide for the Investigation of Cases and Contract Tracing for COVID-19 (the “Guide”), by reducing the isolation and quarantine periods. This Guide applies to private sector employers, public sector employers and educational institutions. Attached is a copy of the Guide for your easy reference.

For purposes of this Guide, to qualify as a “Person with up-to-date vaccination” an individual must comply with one of the following conditions:


A) In adults 50 years old or older or persons with immunocompromised conditions:

  • The second booster was administered after having passed four (4) months since his/her first booster dose.

B) In adults 18 years old or older:

  • Completed the primary series for the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, fourteen (14) days have passed after the administration of the second dose, and five (5) months have not passed since the last dose.
  • Completed the primary series for the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines and received the booster shot after being eligible.
  • Completed the single dose of the Janssen (Johnson and Johnson) vaccine, fourteen (14) days have passed after the administration, and two (2) months have not passed since the inoculation.
  • Completed the single dose of the Janssen (Johnson and Johnson) vaccine and received the booster shot after being eligible.

C) In adolescents between the ages of 12-17 years:

  • Completed the primary series for the Pfizer vaccine, fourteen (14) days have passed after the administration of the second dose, and five (5) months have not passed since the last dose.
  • Completed the primary series for the Pfizer vaccine and received the booster shot after being eligible.

D) In children between the ages of 5-11 years:

  • Completed the primary series for the Pfizer vaccine.

An individual will be considered a “Person without up-to-date vaccination” when such person complies with one of the following conditions:

  1. Completed the primary series for the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, five (5) months have passed after the last dose, and no booster was administered.
  2. Completed the primary series of the single dose of the Janssen (Johnson and Johnson) vaccine, two (2) months have passed after the single dose, and no booster was administered.
  3. Has not completed the primary series of vaccination with two (2) doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
  4. Has not been vaccinated.

Pursuant to the Guide, the following rules are applicable to Quarantine and Isolation:

QUARANTINE

Vaccination StatusPeriod of QuarantineIf the Test is Negative
Person without up-to-date vaccination who was exposed to COVID-19Stay home and Quarantine for five (5) days and undergo a viral test (including antigen, off the counter antigen test registered in BioPortal, molecular or telemedicine) for SARS-Cov-2 on the 5th day following the close contact with the positive Covid-19 person. If the test is negative and the employee has not developed any Covid-19 symptoms, the employee can return to the daily activities.Continue to monitor the symptoms until ten (10) days have elapsed from the beginning of the Quarantine.
Person with up-to-date vaccination who was exposed to COVID-19No need to Quarantine.
Must undergo a viral test (including antigen, off the counter antigen test registered in BioPortal, molecular or telemedicine) for SARS-Cov-2 on the 5th day following the close contact with the positive Covid-19 person. If the test is negative and the employee has not developed any Covid-19 symptoms, the employee can return to the daily activities.
Continue to monitor the symptoms until ten (10) days have elapsed from the beginning of the Quarantine.

ISOLATION

Vaccination StatusIsolation PeriodWhen to Return to Daily Activities
Person without up-to-date vaccination who has mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms or is asymptomaticMust Isolate at home.
Isolation can be terminated when the following criteria are met: (a) after ten (10) days have elapsed from developing the first Covid-19 symptoms; (b) after 24 hours have elapsed after the resolution of the fever without the use of fever-reducing medication; and (c) other symptoms have improved.
On day eleven (11) the person may return to daily activities.
Person with up-to-date vaccination who has mild to moderate COVID-19 symptomsMust Isolate at home.
Isolation can be terminated when the following criteria are met: (a) after seven (7) days have elapsed from developing the first Covid-19 symptoms; (b) after 24 hours have elapsed after the resolution of the fever without the use of fever-reducing medication; and (c) other symptoms have improved.
On day eight (8) the person may return to daily activities. Use face mask from day eight (8) to day ten (10).
Person with up-to-date vaccination who is asymptomaticMust Isolate at home.
Isolation can be terminated when the following criteria are met: (a) after five (5) days from the first positive test; (b) and the person did not have symptoms during the Isolation or monitoring period.
On day six (6) the person may return to daily activities. Use face mask from day six (6) to day ten (10).
Person with severe symptoms regardless of vaccination statusThe Isolation period for all cases with severe symptoms, immunocompromised or pregnant women will be determined in consultation with the health care services provider.

Employees working in the following sectors do not have to Quarantine, regardless of their vaccination status when identified as a close contact : (1) health professionals (e.g. hospitals, laboratories, pharmacies, pharmaceutical companies, physician offices or clinics), (2) long-term care facilities such as aegis and elderly homes, (3) security personnel (e.g., police, firefighters, soldiers, etc.), (4) personnel associated to the food distribution chain, banking, hospitality, lodging services and manufacturing, (5) persons who have received the booster and two (2) weeks have elapsed since its administration, and (6) if a probable or confirmed case has a re-exposure to the virus, that is, it is identified as a close contact within three (3) months (90 days) of having been diagnosed.


After the conclusion of the Isolation or Quarantine period, an employee can return to the workplace without providing a negative molecular or antigen test for Covid-19. Moreover, employers should not require the results of a Covid-19 test nor a medical certificate to be eligible for sick-leave or to return to the workplace.


We are available to assist you in the implementation and/or revision of the pertinent policies and protocols to assure compliance with the Guide recently established, as set forth herein.