CDC updates COVID isolation, quarantine period

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The CDC shortened its recommendations for the isolation and quarantine period for those who test positive for COVID-19.

“Given what we currently know about COVID-19 and the Omicron variant, CDC is shortening the recommended time for isolation from 10 days for people with COVID-19 to five days, if asymptomatic, followed by five days of wearing a mask when around others,” the CDC stated in a press release. “The change is motivated by science demonstrating that the majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the course of illness, generally in the 1-2 days prior to onset of symptoms and the 2-3 days after.”

While the isolation and quarantine time period has been shortened, Kristina Duarte, infection preventionist at the Johnson County Healthcare Center, said it’s key to note that there are certain criteria one must meet to end isolation after five days.

“They must be fever free and resolving symptoms to end isolation after five days AND continue to mask around others,” Duarte said.

The CDC has also updated the recommended quarantine period for those exposed to COVID-19. They state that “for people who are unvaccinated or are more than six months out from their second mRNA dose (or more than two months after the J&J vaccine) and not yet boosted, CDC now recommends quarantine for five days followed by strict mask use for an additional five days.”

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

“The Omicron variant is spreading quickly and has the potential to impact all facets of our society,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, CDC director. “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. These updates ensure people can safely continue their daily lives. Prevention is our best option: get vaccinated, get boosted, wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial and high community transmission and take a test before you gather.”

COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are available every Tuesday at The Family Medical Center. Call 307-684-2228 to get on the list.

*Graphic from the CDC.