Maui Coronavirus Updates

CDC recommends shortened isolation and quarantine for COVID-19 infections

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An Enteric Diseases Laboratory Branch public health scientist, holding up a glass slide used for a run on a sequencing machine. PC: CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today issued an announcement saying it is shortening the recommended time for isolation from 10 days for people with COVID-19 to 5 days, if asymptomatic, followed by five days of wearing a mask when around others.

The updated recommendation is based on what the CDC currently knows about COVID-19 and the Omicron variant.

“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. 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,” according to the announcement.

“These updates ensure people can safely continue their daily lives,” said CDC Director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky. “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.”

Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH. Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC is also updating the recommended quarantine period for those exposed to COVID-19. 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.

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Alternatively, if a five-day quarantine is not feasible, “it is imperative that an exposed person wear a well-fitting mask at all times when around others for 10 days after exposure,” according to the CDC.

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The CDC recommends that 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, the CDC advises that best practice would also include a test for SARS-CoV-2 at day five after exposure. If symptoms occur, individuals should immediately quarantine until a negative test confirms symptoms are not attributable to COVID-19.

Data from South Africa and the United Kingdom demonstrate that vaccine effectiveness against infection for two doses of an mRNA vaccine is approximately 35%. A COVID-19 vaccine booster dose restores vaccine effectiveness against infection to 75%.

The CDC reports that COVID-19 vaccination decreases the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19. CDC strongly encourages COVID-19 vaccination for everyone 5 years and older and boosters for everyone 16 and older.

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The CDC outlined its recommendations below:

If You Test Positive for COVID-19 (Isolate)

  • Applies to everyone, regardless of vaccination status
    • Stay home for five days.
    • If you have no symptoms or your symptoms are resolving after five days, you can leave your house.
    • Continue to wear a mask around others for five additional days.

If you have a fever, continue to stay home until your fever resolves.

If You Were Exposed to Someone with COVID-19 (Quarantine):

  • If you have been boosted or completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine within the last six months or completed the primary series of J&J vaccine within the last two months:
    • Wear a mask around others for 10 days.
    • Test on day five, if possible.

If you develop symptoms get a test and stay home.

  • If you completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine over six months ago and are not boosted or completed the primary series of J&J over 2 months ago and are not boosted or are unvaccinated:
    • Stay home for five days. After that continue to wear a mask around others for five additional days.
    • If you can’t quarantine you must wear a mask for 10 days.
    • Test on day five if possible.

If you develop symptoms get a test and stay home.

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