By Conn Maciel Carey’s COVID-19 Task Force
On December 27, 2021, the CDC updated and shortened its recommended isolation and quarantine periods for the general population. To be precise, yesterday CDC issued a media statement laying out its new guidance, but CDC’s actual Isolation Guidance webpage has not yet been updated. CDC explained in the statement that:
“[b]oth updates [to the isolation and quarantine periods] come as the Omicron variant continues to spread throughout the U.S. and reflects the current science on when and for how long a person is maximally infectious.”
What are CDC’s New Isolation and Quarantine Guidelines?
With respect to isolation (which relates to behavior after a confirmed infection), CDC states:
“[g]iven what we currently know about COVID-19 and the Omicron variant, CDC is shortening the recommended time for isolation from 10 days for people with COVID-19 to 5 days, if asymptomatic, followed by 5 days of wearing a mask when around others.”
Explaining the change, CDC maintains that it 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 2-3 days after. Therefore, people who test positive should isolate for 5 days, and if asymptomatic at that time, they may leave isolation if they mask for 5 days to minimize the risk of infecting others.”
Additionally, with respect to quarantine (which refers to the time following exposure to the virus or close contact with someone known to have COVID-19), CDC states: Continue reading