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Upbeat outlook on new CDC isolation guidance

Max Schulte
Two people standing outside a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Rochester's Corn Hill neighborhood.

As COVID-19 mandates, guidelines, and regulations shift, it can be difficult to keep up.

Steve Dreshler manages B&L Wholesale Supply, a building materials distributor on Hartford Street in northeast Rochester. He relies on his HR manager to keep track of ever-changing regulations from the state and federal governments. Dreshler said they enforce the guidelines strictly.

“I guess, ‘challenging’ would be a good word for it. We struggle every day with it,” said Dreshler.

He’s pleased with the most recent change. The Centers for Disease Control offered guidance Monday that people who have COVID-19 and no symptoms can return to work after5 days of isolation instead of 10. New York Governor Kathy Hochul made the same determination on the same day.

“It's going to be positive effect for us in getting employees back sooner because I think we promote a pretty good working environment here. People actually when they’re not at work and want to get back to work,” said Dreshler.

He expects his roughly 100 employees to react differently to the change.

“Some employees like I say, are deathly afraid of it, they want the full 10 days and others are chomping at the bit to get back,” said Dreshler.

Much like Dreshler, the employers Justin Wilcox works with intend to begin implementing the guideline next week. Wilcox is Executive Director of Upstate United, a nonpartisan group of business and trade organizations.

With the rise of COVID-19 cases and shortage of workers, Wilcox says the move is especially helpful now, while the labor market remains tight.

“None of this happens in vacuum. There are so many things occurring, and one of them is a severe labor shortage, for whatever reasons businesses are having a hard time keeping employees and part of that maybe the fact that some people don’t want to go to a workplace that they believe put them in additional risk,” said Wilcox.

Wilcox argues that the new guidance will allow first responders and medical personnel to get back to work sooner.

“I think it makes a lot of sense to get those people back on the front lines especially as we see an increase in people who are being hospitalized,” said Wilcox.

James Brown is a reporter with WXXI News. James previously spent a decade in marketing communications, while freelance writing for CITY Newspaper. While at CITY, his reporting focused primarily on arts and entertainment.