DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The CDC updated COVID-19 isolation and quarantine guidelines Tuesday, clarifying the five-day isolation period and testing guidelines released last week.
The CDC said data shows people with COVID-19 are most contagious one to two days before the onset of symptoms and two to three days after.
What to do if you test positive for COVID-19
The CDC recommends those with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19 only need to isolate for five days after the onset of symptoms. This shortens the previous 10 day requirement.
“Many people are not following the isolation or quarantine guidance as we had before, and so they’re trying to make it more realistic that people will actually isolate for five days,” Clark County Combined Health District health commissioner Charles Patterson said.
At the end of those five days, and if fever-free for 24 hours, the CDC said people can use an antigen COVID-19 test if they have access to one, but the agency is not requiring it.
If positive, isolate until day 10. If symptoms aren’t resolved after five days, continue the isolation period.
“If you have any symptoms, stay home until they resolve themselves, whether or not you’re tested,” Public Health – Dayton & Mongomery County public information supervisor Dan Suffoletto said. “Even if you have a problem getting a test, if you have symptoms, you want to stay home, stay away from other people until those symptoms subside.”
The CDC said once isolation ends, continue wearing a mask for another five days.
What to do if you come in close contact with COVID-19
It also clarifies quarantine guidelines for those in close contact with a COVID-19 case.
Those exposed should quarantine at home for five days then get tested. If positive, follow isolation guidelines. If negative, you no longer have to stay home, but wear a mask for 10 days and monitor for symptoms.
The guidance is different for anyone who’s received all their recommended vaccine doses, kids ages 5 to 17, or had COVID-19 in the last 90 days.
“Vaccinated individuals should still monitor themselves for symptoms, wear a mask when around others, but do not need to quarantine directly at the time of exposure,” Suffoletto said.
Those who do not need to quarantine should still wear a mask for 10 days.
When to get a COVID-19 test
Due to the take home testing kit shortage, health officials are recommending to only get tested if you need it — that’s if you are symptomatic or if you were directly exposed to someone with COVID-19.
“Just random screening for testing is not something recommended because there are limited tests and limited testing capabilities,” Patterson said. “We’re looking to expand that in the coming weeks with National Guard help, but right now, it is very difficult to find a test.”