CDC Updates and Shortens Recommended Isolation and Quarantine Period for General Population
Update Applicable to:
On December 27, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that it would be updating its quarantine and isolation guidance for COVID-19.
What Are the Details?
Effective immediately, for people with COVID-19, the isolation period was reduced from ten days to five days as long as the individual has no symptoms or their symptoms are resolving after five days. Importantly, the revised isolation guidance does not recommend an individual have a negative COVID-19 test before ending their isolation period after day five.
For people who have been exposed through close contact with someone infected with COVID-19, whether an individual is recommended to quarantine is no longer dependent on vaccination status alone. Rather, whether quarantine is recommended now also depends on whether an individual has received a booster and how long it has been since an individual completed their vaccination series.
For people who are unvaccinated or received their second mRNA dose (Pfizer or Moderna) more than six months ago or the J&J vaccine more than two months ago, and have not received a booster shot, the CDC now recommends quarantine for five days, followed by five days of masking. For people who have received their booster shot or who have recently completed their primary vaccine series, the CDC does not recommend such individuals quarantine following exposure, but the CDC does recommend they wear a mask around others for 10 days.
The CDC also recommends that everyone who has been exposed to COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, be tested on day five following the exposure if possible. Finally, everyone who either has COVID-19 or was exposed to someone with COVID-19 should wear a well-fitted mask for a full 10 days.
Below is a chart provided by the CDC media release article:
Excluded Employees (Excluded from the shorter isolation/quarantine CDC guidelines):
- People who cannot wear a mask, including people of any age with certain disabilities, should isolate (if infected) and quarantine (if exposed) for 10 days.
- People who have moderate or severe illness. People who have moderate COVID-19 illness should isolate for 10 days.
- People with severe COVID-19 illness (e.g., requiring hospitalization, intensive care, or ventilation support) should isolate for at least 10 days and may need to isolate longer after symptom onset. They should consult with their healthcare provider to determine the appropriate duration of isolation.
People who are immunocompromised:
This guidance is not intended for people who are immunocompromised who might have a longer infectious period. For guidance on moderately or severely immunocompromised people with COVID-19 in non-healthcare settings, please see Ending Isolation and Precautions for People with COVID-19: Interim Guidance (cdc.gov). (Source: Link)
For more information, please see the links below:
Article 1 – Article 2
What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the links and chart above and their COVID-19 policies and protocols, communicate any changes to their employees and be prepared to answer employees’ questions. Employers are also encouraged to reach out to local health departments for any clarification on the guidelines.