The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has shortened its recommended time for isolation for people with COVID-19.
According to a press release on Monday, the CDC is now recommending that asymptomatic people with COVID-19 isolate for a period of five days, followed by five days of wearing a mask when around others.
The change, according to CDC, is motivated by science that shows the majority of COVID-19 transmission occurs early in the course of the illness, typically in the first one or two days prior to the onset of symptoms, and in the two to three days following those symptoms.
Under these updated guidelines, once a person tests positive and isolates for five days, they may leave isolation if they are asymptomatic at the time, and a mask should be worn for an additional five days to minimize the risk of infecting others.
For anyone exposed to COVID-19 who is either unvaccinated or more than six months removed from their second mRNA dose (or more than two months after the Johnson and Johnson vaccine), the CDC now recommends a five-day quarantine followed by strict mask use for an additional five days.
If a five-day quarantine is not feasible, the CDC recommends that the exposed person wear a well-fitting mask at all times when around others for ten days after exposure.
Mark Lander, Department of Health in Marion County Administrator, anticipates an increase in positive cases in the coming weeks due to the holidays. Marion County’s COVID-19 report for the week of December 17 to December 23 showed that positive cases doubled from the previous week.
Lander said, “This jump was somewhat expected with the holidays, and the increased opportunity for crowded gatherings. But it also reminds us that the community must step up measures for self-protection and to attempt to slow the spread of the virus, including washing your hands frequently, staying home if you don’t feel well, and considering getting a vaccine or a booster, if you are eligible for one. For everyone, including children ages 5 or older, vaccines are the most effective way to prevent serious illness or hospitalization from COVID-19.”