United States’ national public health agency Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated and shortened the recommended isolation and quarantine period if one is infected with COVID-19 as the world continues its battle to contain the spread of the Omicron variant.
Previously, the period of isolation — that separates people infected with coronavirus from others, and quarantine — that restricts movement of people who were exposed to coronavirus to check whether they are infected, for the coronavirus infected people or those who might have come in contact with an infected person, was at least 10 days.
However, the CDC has revised the standard operating procedures (SOPs) based on the “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.”
According to a media release by CDC, if a person has tested positive for COVID-19, they should isolate under these SOPs:
- Stay home for five days.
- Keep wearing a well-fitted mask around others without fail after completing the isolation and leaving home.
However, the CDC suggests that if fever persists even after five days of isolation, the infected person should continue to stay home until the fever goes away.
The aforementioned SOPs are for everyone regardless of their vaccination status.
Meanwhile, those who have come in contact with someone infected with COVID-19 should quarantine, according to the CDC, and follow these SOPs.
If a person who was exposed to COVID-19 is unvaccinated or out from the recommended period for their second dose or not yet boosted, they should:
- Quarantine for 5 days.
- Follow strict mask use for an additional 5 days.
If a person who was exposed to COVID-19 cannot afford to stay in quarantine, they should:
- Wear a well-fitted mask all the time when surrounded by people for 10 days after being exposed to the virus.
If a person who was exposed to COVID-19 has received a booster shot, they don’t need to quarantine but they should:
- Wear a mask for 10 days after the exposure.
CDC suggests all those who have been exposed to the virus to get a diagnostic test on the fifth day after exposure and if they show any symptoms, they should immediately quarantine until they test negative, confirming their symptoms are not attributable to COVID-19.