Wednesday, February 21, 2024

CDC Recommends Shorter COVID-19 Isolation and Quarantine Time

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated recommendations for isolation and quarantine time for everyone. (Courtesy of Pexels)

HAMPTON ROADS — The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shortened the recommendation isolation and quarantine times for those who have tested positive for COVID-19.

The CDC has shortened the recommended time for isolation from 10 to five days for people with COVID-19 if they are asymptomatic (not showing symptoms), and if they wear a mask around others for five days.

The change comes as evidence supports that people with COVID-19 are most infectious within two days prior to onset symptoms and between two and three days after, according to the CDC.

“Therefore, people who test positive should isolate for 5 days and, if asymptomatic at that time, they may leave isolation if they can continue to mask for 5 days to minimize the risk of infecting others,” the CDC stated in a Dec. 27 release.

The CDC also made changes to the recommended quarantine time for those exposed to COVID-19.

“For people who are unvaccinated or are more than six months out from their second mRNA dose (or more than 2 months after the J&J vaccine) and not yet boosted, CDC now recommends quarantine for 5 days followed by strict mask use for an additional 5 days,” the CDC stated.

Those who are unable to quarantine for five days should wear a mask at all times when around others for 10 days after exposure, the CDC added.

The CDC also stated that people who have received their booster shot do not need to quarantine following an exposure, but should wear a mask for 10 days after. 

“CDC’s updated recommendations for isolation and quarantine balance what we know about the spread of the virus and the protection provided by vaccination and booster doses,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said. “These updates ensure people can safely continue their daily lives.”

Last week, the CDC also shortened the isolation and quarantine period for health care workers who test positive for COVID-19.

The new recommendation also states that healthcare workers can return to work after seven days if they test negative and are asymptomatic. That isolation time can be cut shorter if there are staffing shortages.

Additionally, healthcare workers who have received all of the recommended COVID-19 vaccine doses, including their booster, do not need to quarantine at home if they were exposed.

The decision is in response to staff shortages caused by COVID-19 in anticipation of the Omicron surge, the CDC stated.

Local health systems in the area are following the CDC guidelines.

“As part of our continued efforts to keep our team members and patients safe, Sentara Healthcare follows Centers for Disease Control guidelines and recommendations as they are updated,” Sentara spokesperson Peter J. Sengenberger said.

WYDaily is awaiting comment from Riverside Health System.

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