CDC Updates Quarantine and Isolation Periods for COVID-19

On December 27, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new guidance for employers on how long employees should quarantine and self-isolate after a positive COVID-19 test, and after close contact with a positive COVID-19 person.  Here is the update:

If you test positive for COVID-19: The CDC shortened the recommended time for isolation for people who test positive for COVID-19 from 10 days to 5 days if asymptomatic (or symptoms are resolving after 5 days), with 5 days of wearing a mask after the quarantine period.  The science behind the change is that COVID-19 transmission occurs 1-2 days before symptoms and 2-3 days after. Individuals who test positive must isolate for 5 days and wear a mask for another 5 days in public.   A person with fever should stay home until the fever resolves.

If you are exposed to COVID-19 unvaccinated or have not received a booster: If you are exposed to COVID-19 (close contact), the recommended quarantine period has been updated for those who are unvaccinated or are more than six months out from their second vaccine shot (or 2 months after the Johnson and Johnson vaccine) and have not been boosted. Those individuals are recommended to isolate for 5 days and after that wear a mask for another 5 days in public.  If the quarantine cannot occur, one who has been exposed to COVID-19 must wear a mask for 10 days after exposure.  Test on day 5 if possible.

For employees that have been vaccinated within the past 6 months, or have been boosted, or completed Johnson and Johnson within the past 2 months, no quarantine is needed – but wear a mask for 10 days and get tested on day 5, if possible.

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