Isolation / Quarantine Guidelines
CDC UPDATED GUIDANCE ON ISOLATION AND QUARANTINE- 12/28/2021
Isolation — care of someone infected. A person remains possibly contagious for 10 days
Quarantine — care after a close contact exposure. This period is now 10 days.
Fully vaccinated— person has received each dose they are eligible to receive. (For example, a person who has received 2 doses of mRNA vaccine or 1 does of J&J and who is eligible for a booster dose, but has not had that booster dose, is no longer considered fully vaccinated.)
This applies whether unvaccinated, recovered, partially vaccinated or fully vaccinated.
As soon as you develop any suggestive symptoms, isolate away from anyone and everyone until test result is available. (If you live with others, stay in a separate room preferably with a separate bathroom.)
If antigen or PCR test is positive, continue isolation for 5 days (first day of symptoms is day 0)
If antigen test is negative, have a PCR test and continue isolation until PCR result is back
If PCR is negative, wear a face-covering until your symptoms are gone to prevent sharing whatever you have to others
If you test positive after a close contact or test for some other reason, and have no symptoms, isolate for 5 days (test date is day 0)
After 5 days
If you have no fever for the prior 24 hours any medicine that would suppress a fever
AND symptoms are improving
you never had symptoms and remain with no symptoms
Then you may discontinue being separate from anyone and everyone. ( below for testing recommendations )
You will need to continue to wear a well-fitting mask when around anyone else, especially family, for 5 more days to finish out the entire 10-day contagious period.
Guide to masks-
Care after a close contact exposure (within 6 feet of someone known to be positive, for more than 15 minutes, neither person wearing a face covering, starting 2 days before the positive person developed symptoms).
If fully vaccinated, no separation period is required. Mask use during the 10-day period is recommended. Get tested on day 5. If positive, see isolation above.
If unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or recovered from Covid and not fully vaccinated,
separate from anyone and everyone for 5 days. (If you live with others, stay in a separate room preferably with a separate bathroom.)
AND get tested at day 5. If positive, see isolation above.
If test negative and you remain without any suggestive symptoms, continue proper mask use around anyone and everyone for the next 5 days.
What has changed
The time period for isolation has not changed. The time period for quarantine is now 10 days. These updates provide guidance in how to manage the entire time period.
Effective mask use is critical to this guidance - well fitted, proper material, (covering nose and mouth) around anyone and everyone. If this cannot be done, then a person should remain separated from anyone and everyone for the entire period whether in isolation after a positive test or quarantining from a close contact exposure.
Guide to masks-
ADDITIONAL CDC CLARIFICATIONS
CDC did not intend to imply that a person’s responsibility to prevent spread stops at day 5. The requirements in this guidance for days 6-10 are equally important.
CDC acknowledges this guidance was shared in the face of rapidly increasing cases to address workforce shortages. They acknowledge this introduces an increased risk of spread. Their hope is the benefit of keeping people at work more than makes up for this increased risk.
CDC points out that although most people are no longer contagious after 5 days, they in no way intend for people to think the chance stops at day 5. Some people once infected continue to be contagious after 5 days of isolation, and some continue to develop Covid after 5 days of quarantine.
If you are in high-risk group or if you live with someone who may not do well if they were to get Covid, you may not want to follow this guidance, but rather stay with the prior guidelines that are safer.
CDC intends this to be for the general population. They will be releasing guidelines for other situations, like schools, congregate and group living arrangements, like nursing homes, jails, and the like. This guidance does not replace the guidelines recently put out for healthcare workers.
CDC did not include a recommendation for needing a negative test to end separation during the isolation period. They would have preferred this, but the current supply issues with test availability made this not practical in their opinion. If you can get a test, this would be preferable as an extra measure to be sure you won’t give your infection to others.
CDC has not specified what ‘if not feasible to quarantine’ means.
CDC makes clear these recommendations do not supersede state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations.