What's The Risk Of Catching COVID-19 From My Recovered Coworker?

In our series "What's the Risk?", experts weigh in on what risks different scenarios pose for transmitting COVID-19.

What's The Risk Of Catching COVID-19 From My Recovered Coworker?

When it comes to getting sick with COVID-19, you might be thinking about this, and we have, too. Anthony Canton asked: "Some people in my office tested positive for COVID-19. They were treated and released from the hospital after recovering completely and were told that they can return to work. Can they transmit the coronavirus to others when they come to the office?"

We asked the experts: Katie Cary, vice president of infection prevention for HCA Continental Division; Dr. Nipunie Rajapakse, a pediatric infectious diseases physician at the Mayo Clinic; and Dr. Irfan N. Hafiz, infectious disease physician and Northwest Region chief medical officer at Northwestern Medicine.

Their take: Contracting COVID-19 from working with someone recovered from COVID-19 is low-risk.

"They should really be seeing their doctor to get, you know, the clearance to go back to work so we minimize that exposure there," Hafiz said.

"Depending on how long it is from the time that they develop symptoms, they may or may not be infectious. So if your coworker was sick within the last week or 10 days, the likelihood that they're still shedding virus that could get you sick is much higher than, for instance, if they were sick a few weeks or months ago," Rajapaske said.

"So nobody should to be returning to work until they've been cleared either by public health or their provider, or at least somebody who knows how to assess when it's safe and appropriate to go back to work. As long as somebody is coming back and has achieved the amount of time required to be asymptomatic, then the risk is very low," Cary said.

If you have a question about your risk, send us a video to whatstherisk@newsy.com. You can see answers to other questions here