CDC reduces quarantine time for asymptomatic COVID-19 cases

Dec. 28, 2021

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has shortened 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.

The agency said, “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 5 days and, if asymptomatic at that time, they may leave isolation if they can continue to mask for 5 days to minimize the risk of infecting others."

The CDC also updated the recommended quarantine period for people exposed to COVID-19. “For people who are unvaccinated or are more than six months out from their second mRNA dose (or more than 2 months after the J&J vaccine) and not yet boosted, CDC now recommends quarantine for 5 days followed by strict mask use for an additional 5 days,” the agency said. However, the agency added that if quarantine is not feasible, a person who has been exposed to COVID-19 should wear a well-fitting mask for 10 days when around other people. In either case, people who have been exposed to COVID-19 should take a SARS-CoV-2 test after five days and then quarantine if they test positive.

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