CDC Recommends Shorter Isolation, Quarantine Periods for COVID-19 Infections, Exposures
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced that it is updating its quarantine and isolation guidance for people with COVID-19, reducing the isolation period from 10 days to five days, as long as the individual has no symptoms or their symptoms are resolving after five days. Importantly, the revised isolation guidance does not recommend an individual have a negative COVID-19 test before ending their isolation period after day five.
For people who have been exposed through close contact with someone infected with COVID-19, whether an individual should quarantine no longer depends on vaccination status alone. Rather, whether quarantine is recommended also depends on whether an individual has received a booster and how long it has been since an individual completed their vaccination series.
For people who are unvaccinated or received their second dose of a two-dose vaccine more than six months ago or one dose of a single-dose vaccine more than two months ago and have not received a booster shot, the CDC recommends quarantining for five days, followed by five days of masking. For people who have received their booster shot or who have recently completed their primary vaccine series, the CDC does not recommend such individuals quarantine following an exposure, but recommends they wear a mask around others for 10 days.
The CDC also recommends that everyone who has been exposed to COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, be tested on day five following the exposure, if possible. Finally, everyone who either has COVID-19 or was exposed to someone with COVID-19 should wear a well-fitted mask for a full 10 days.
Employers should review their COVID-19 policies and protocols, communicate any changes to their employees, and be prepared to answer employees’ questions. Employers are reminded to consider states and local health authorities, which may have different guidelines.