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CDC releases new, relaxed COVID-19 guidance on isolation, ending test-to-stay

The new guidance ends the test-to-stay mandates for schools
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Posted at 2:22 PM, Aug 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-11 18:28:11-04

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidance for COVID-19 on Thursday.

The agency announced Thursday that the new guidance emphasizes understanding the risks of the virus, how they can protect themselves and others, what to do if someone is exposed to the virus, and what to do if you test positive for COVID-19.

Although the pandemic is still happening worldwide, the agency said that now, tools have significantly lowered the risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and death compared to what occurred earlier in the pandemic.

"We’re in a stronger place today as a nation, with more tools—like vaccination, boosters, and treatments—to protect ourselves, and our communities, from severe illness from COVID-19,” said Greta Massetti, Ph.D. in the press release. "We also have a better understanding of how to protect people from being exposed to the virus, like wearing high-quality masks, testing, and improved ventilation. This guidance acknowledges that the pandemic is not over, but also helps us move to a point where COVID-19 no longer severely disrupts our daily lives.”

The new guidance eliminates the recommendation regarding schools and the test-to-stay guidance after possible exposure to the virus, which had been the alternative to quarantining for schools.

Massetti said, "the practice of handling exposures would involve masking rather than a quarantine."

Other recommendations the CDC offers under the new guidance include:

  • Isolate for 10 days if you experienced shortness of breath or were hospitalized because of COVID
  • Consult with your doctor before ending isolation if you had a severe illness or a weakened immune system
  • If you end isolation but your COVID symptoms worsen, you should restart your isolation
  • Regardless of vaccination status, you should isolate yourself from others when you have COVID-19
  • Isolate yourself if you are sick and suspect that you have COVID-19 but do not yet have test results

The agency also said people don't need to stay at least 6 feet away from others.

According to the new CDC guidance, the agency recommends that if you are exposed to COVID, you wear a high-quality mask for 10 days instead of quarantining and get tested on the fifth day.

They also recommended that if you test positive for COVID-19, you stay home for at least five days and isolate yourself from others in your home.