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CDC Shortens Recommended Times For COVID19 Isolation and Quarantine

CDC Shortens Recommended Times For COVID19 Isolation and Quarantine

On Monday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shortened the recommended times that people should isolate when they’ve tested positive for Covid-19 from ten days to five days if they don’t have symptoms and if they wear a mask around others, for at least five more days.

The CDC also shortened the recommended time for people to quarantine if they are exposed to the virus to a similar five days if they are vaccinated. People who are fully vaccinated and boosted may not need to quarantine at all, the CDC said. “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 the onset of symptoms and the 2-3 days after,” the CDC said. “Therefore, people who test positive should isolate for five days and, if asymptomatic at that time, they may leave isolation if they can continue to mask for five days to minimize the risk of infecting others.”

Photo by Raychel Brightman/Newsday RM via Getty Images

Quarantine refers to the time people stay away from others if they are exposed to a disease but have not yet tested positive or showing symptoms. But the CDC has tweaked those recommendations, too. “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,” it said.

People who are vaccinated and boosted are usually off the hook for quarantine, the CDC said.

Last week, the CDC updated its guidance for health care workers with Covid-19 who show no symptoms or have mild symptoms to say they can return to work after seven days if they test negative for infection at that point. Previously, people who were exposed to Covid-19 but who had not tested positive were advised to quarantine for 14 days, and people who tested positive for Covid-19 were advised to isolate for 10 full days.

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