It has now been recommended that people testing positive for Covid-19 isolate for five days rather than 10 if they don't have symptoms -- and if they wear a mask for at least five more days.
According to the CDC, people who have been exposed to the virus should also be quarantined within five days if they have been vaccinated, and often until no time at all if they have been boosted.
The CDC has shortened the recommended time for isolation from 10 days to 5 days for those with COVID-19 and the Omicron variant if they are asymptomatic, followed by 5 days of wearing a mask around others, the CDC said in a statement.
Science has demonstrated that most SARS-CoV-2 transmission takes place early in the illness, primarily one or two days before and after symptoms appear. In order to minimize the risk of infection, those who test positive should isolate for 5 days and if asymptomatic after that period, may leave isolation if they can mask for an additional 5 days.
If a person has been exposed to a disease but has not yet tested positive or shown symptoms, they will remain in quarantine for a certain period of time.
These recommendations were also changed by the CDC. In the case of people who have not yet been boosted after their second mRNA dose (or after their second dose of the J&J vaccine) and who have not yet been vaccinated, the CDC has recommended a five-day quarantine followed by strict mask use for the next five days.
A person exposed to the virus should use a mask at all times for 10 days after exposure if a five-day quarantine is not feasible. After receiving a booster shot, individuals do not need to quarantine, but are advised to wear a mask for at least ten days after exposure.
In addition to a test for SARS-CoV-2 at day 5 after exposure, best practice would include testing all those exposed. A person should immediately quarantine if they develop symptoms until a negative diagnostic test shows that symptoms aren't caused by COVID-19.
COVID-19 cases surging as a result of the omicron variant also led to the decision.
Researchers have found that omicron may cause milder illness than earlier coronavirus strains. Hospitals, airlines, and other businesses say the sheer number of people who become ill - and have to be isolated or quarantined - threatens to cripple their ability to stay open.
Omicron cases are about to increase, according to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky.
The Associated Press reported on Monday that "many of those cases are going to be asymptomatic, not severe." The group aims to ensure society functions as safely as it can while following scientific principles.
Employers, state officials, and local officials are not bound by the guidance; it's merely a recommendation. According to reports, New York state plans to expand the CDC's guidelines to include other employees with critical jobs facing severe staffing shortages besides health-care workers.
CDC is attempting to get ahead of potentially shortening quarantine and isolation policies in other states. According to Walensky, CDC guidelines would be more useful than a mishmash of policies.
According to Lindsay Wiley, an American University public health law expert, the CDC's position on isolation and quarantine has been confusing to the public, and the new recommendations are coming at a time "when more people are testing positive for the first time and looking for guidance."
In spite of this, the guidelines remain complex.
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