CDC Shortens Recommended Isolation and Quarantine Period for General Population

COVID-19 Updates, Industry,

On Monday, December 27, the CDC shortened the recommended isolation and quarantine period for the general public. These changes are motivated by science demonstrating that the majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the course of illness.

These updates are not intended to apply to healthcare settings. CDC's recommendations for healthcare personnel are described in the Interim Guidance for Managing Healthcare Personnel with SARS-CoV-2 Infection or Exposure to SARS-CoV-2 and Strategies to Mitigate Healthcare Personnel Staffing Shortages released last week. Additional updates to CDC healthcare infection prevention and control guidance will be forthcoming. 

DHS encourages local and tribal health departments to review and implement this guidance in their jurisdictions. Please distribute this message widely within your organization.

Updated Isolation Recommendations (for those who have tested positive for COVID-19)

CDC has shortened the recommended length of isolation for people with COVID-19, if asymptomatic, from 10 days to 5 days followed by 5 days of wearing a well-fitting mask around others.

Updated Quarantine Recommendations (for those who have been exposed to COVID-19)

People who are unvaccinated or are more than six months out from their second mRNA dose or more than 2 months after the J&J vaccine and have not yet received a booster dose should:

  • Quarantine for 5 days following exposure and wear a well-fitting mask when around other people for an additional 5 days.
  • If a 5-day quarantine is not feasible, the exposed person must wear a well-fitting mask at all times when around other people for 10 days after exposure.

People who meet one of the following criteria do not need to quarantine after exposure to COVID-19, but should wear a well-fitting mask when around other people for 10 days:

  • Have completed their primary mRNA vaccine series within the last 6 months, OR
  • Have been fully vaccinated with a J&J vaccine within the last two months, OR
  • Have received a booster more than two weeks prior to the exposure.

Following an exposure to COVID-19, everyone, regardless of vaccination status:

  • Should get tested for COVID-19 on day 5, if possible, after exposure.
  • Quarantine immediately if any symptoms develop until they receive a negative COVID-19 test confirming symptoms are not attributable to COVID-19.

Updates to recommended isolation and quarantine for the general population reflect current science on when and how long a person is maximally infectious and ensure that people can safely continue their daily lives. DHS is currently working to update all communication and guidance materials to reflect these updates. Read CDC’s full media statement.