Sunday, April 14, 2024

CDC Drops 5-day COVID Isolation Guideline

Photo by Fusion Medical Animation on Unsplash

ATLANTA — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced updated guidelines on Friday for those who have contracted COVID-19, eliminating the recommendation to isolate for five days.

The new guidance brings a unified approach to addressing risks from a range of common respiratory viral illnesses, such as COVID-19, flu, and RSV, which can cause significant health impacts and strain on hospitals and health care workers, according to the CDC.

The updated guidance recommends that those who contract a respiratory virus stay home and away from others, and returning to normal activities when overall symptoms have improved for at least 24 hours and if a fever was present, it has been gone without use of a fever-reducing medication.

“Today’s announcement reflects the progress we have made in protecting against severe illness from COVID-19,” said CDC Director Mandy Cohen. “However, we still must use the commonsense solutions we know work to protect ourselves and others from serious illness from respiratory viruses — this includes vaccination, treatment, and staying home when we get sick.”

Once resuming normal activities, the CDC encourages taking additional prevention strategies for the next five days to curb disease spread, such as taking more steps for cleaner air, enhancing hygiene practices, wearing a well-fitting mask, keeping a distance from others, and/or getting tested for respiratory viruses.

The CDC also provided the following  recommendations on core prevention steps and strategies:

  • Staying up to date with vaccination to protect people against serious illness, hospitalization, and death. This includes flu, COVID-19, and RSV if eligible.
  • Practicing good hygiene by covering coughs and sneezes, washing or sanitizing hands often, and cleaning frequently touched surfaces.
  • Taking steps for cleaner air, such as bringing in more fresh outside air, purifying indoor air, or gathering outdoors.

“The bottom line is that when people follow these actionable recommendations to avoid getting sick, and to protect themselves and others if they do get sick, it will help limit the spread of respiratory viruses, and that will mean fewer people who experience severe illness,” National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases Director Demetre Daskalakis said. “That includes taking enhanced precautions that can help protect people who are at higher risk for getting seriously ill.”

The updated guidance is intended for community settings, the CDC said, and there are no changes to respiratory virus guidance for healthcare settings.

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