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CDC cuts isolation time after positive COVID-19 test from 10 days to five

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CDC cuts isolation time after positive COVID-19 test from 10 days to five
The CDC on Monday said those who have tested positive for COVID-19 can isolate for five days followed by five days of wearing a mask around others, down from its previous recommendation of 10 days of isolation. Photo by Peter Foley/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 27 (UPI) -- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday cut its recommended period of isolation for asymptomatic people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in half.

The CDC shortened its recommended time for isolation from 10 days for people with COVID-19 to five days if asymptomatic, followed by five additional days of wearing a mask when around others.

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"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," the CDC said.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said the changes come as the Omicron COVID-19 variant is spreading rapidly and "has the potential to impact all facets of our society," adding that the updated recommendations are based on "what we know about the spread of the virus and the protection provided by vaccination and booster doses."

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"These updates ensure people can safely continue their daily lives," she said. "Prevention is our best option: get vaccinated, get boosted, wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial and high community transmission and take a test before you gather."

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Additionally, the CDC updated the recommended quarantine period for people who are exposed to COVID-19.

People who are not vaccinated or have not received a booster shot six months after receiving their second mRNA dose, or more than two months after their Johnson & Johnson vaccine, should quarantine for five days followed by five days of "strict mask use." If a five-day quarantine isn't feasible, the CDC said "it is imperative" that a person exposed to COVID-19 wear a well-fitting mask at all times when around others for 10 days.

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Individuals who have received their booster do not need to quarantine after exposure to COVID-19 but should wear a mask when around others for 10 days, the CDC said.

"For all those exposed, the best practice would also include a test for SARS-CoV-2 at day 5 after exposure," the CDC said. "If symptoms occur, individuals should immediately quarantine until a negative test confirms symptoms are not attributable to COVID-19."

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