On Monday December 27, 2021, the CDC made changes to isolation and quarantine recommendations for people with COVID-19, or exposed to someone with COVID-19.
If you test positive for COVID-19:
For all people who test positive, regardless of vaccination status, CDC shortened the recommended time for isolation from 10 days to five days.
- If you have no symptoms, or your symptoms are improving after five days, you can leave your house. If you have a fever, stay home until your fever goes away.
- You should continue to wear a high-quality, well-fitting mask around others for five additional days.
- High-quality and well-fitting masks are important and are described here.
Why are they recommending this change?
According to the CDC, data show that most COVID-19 transmission happens early in the course of illness. Most transmission happens in the 5-day period starting 1-2 days before symptoms begin through 2-3 days after symptoms began.
*Note: these recommendations are for the general population. WA Department of Health recommends that anyone in congregate settings (schools, correctional facilities, homeless shelters and transitional housing, temporary worker housing) continue to follow a 10-day isolation period after testing positive before entering public spaces.
If you are exposed to someone with COVID-19 and:
you are not fully vaccinated or have not received a booster:
- Stay home for five days.
- Take a COVID-19 test on Day 5, if possible. (Here is information on where to get tested)
- If you test negative on day five, you can leave your home but continue to wear a high-quality, well-fitting mask for five additional days.
- If you can’t quarantine, wear a high-quality, well-fitting mask for 10 days.
you are fully vaccinated and received a booster:
This includes anyone who has received their booster shot or received the second Pfizer or Moderna vaccine fewer than six months ago or a single Johnson & Johnson vaccine fewer than 2 months ago; and children less than 16 years old who are fully vaccinated.
If you are exposed to someone with COVID-19:
- You do not need to quarantine.
- Wear a high-quality, well-fitting mask for 10 days after the exposure
- Take a COVID-19 test on Day 5, if possible.
Everyone who has been exposed to someone with COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, should get a COVID-19 test five days after exposure.
If you have symptoms, immediately quarantine until you take a COVID-19 test and it is negative.
With cases increasing quickly in our region, it is important that we use all our tools to minimize exposure and spread, such as:
- Get vaccinated or boosted when eligible
- Avoid crowded indoor spaces
- Wear a high-quality and well-fitting mask indoors in public places
- Get tested before gathering with others. Testing the day of the gathering is best.
- Keep indoor spaces well-ventilated
Okanogan County Health Officer and Family Physician Dr. Jim Wallace explains the CDC’s guidance on isolation and quarantine times.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC Updates and Shortens Recommended Isolation and Quarantine Period for General Population. December 27, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2021/s1227-isolation-quarantine-guidance.html
Washington State Department of Health. Department of Health updates isolation and quarantine guidance to align with CDC recommendation. December 28, 2021. https://www.doh.wa.gov/Newsroom/Articles/ID/3032/Department-of-Health-updates-isolation-and-quarantine-guidance-to-align-with-CDC-recommendation
Public Health Insider. CDC recommends changes to isolation and quarantine for COVID-19. December 29, 2021. https://publichealthinsider.com/2021/12/29/cdc-recommends-changes-to-isolation-and-quarantine-for-covid-19/