CDC Updates and Shortens Recommended Isolation and Quarantine Period for General Population
Citing what is currently known about COVID-19 and the Omicron variant, the CDC is shortening the recommended time for isolation for the public.
People with COVID-19 should isolate for 5 days, and if they are asymptomatic or their symptoms are resolving (without fever for 24 hours), follow that the 5-day quarantine by 5 days of wearing a mask when around others to minimize the risk of infecting people they encounter. The CDC said the change was motivated by science demonstrating that the majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the course of the illness, generally in the 1 to 2 days prior to onset of symptoms and the 2 to 3 days after.
The CDC is also updating the recommended quarantine period for anyone in the general public who is exposed to COVID-19.
- For people who are unvaccinated or are more than 6 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. Alternatively, if a 5-day quarantine is not feasible, CDC states that “it is imperative that an exposed person wear a well-fitting mask at all times when around others for 10 days after exposure.
- Individuals 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.
For all those exposed, best practice would also include a test for SARS-CoV-2 at day 5 after exposure. If symptoms occur, individuals should immediately quarantine until a negative test confirms symptoms are not attributable to COVID-19.
These recommendations do not apply to healthcare workers, for whom the CDC has updated guidance.