New CDC quarantine guidelines hinge on vaccination status

Local News

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — The CDC released new information on how long someone should be quarantined if they are exposed to COVID or test positive. There are a lot of fine details medical professionals believe people should consider when deciding how long to stay home.

The new guidance of how to respond to exposure or a positive test hinges on vaccination status.

“We are coming on our next surge here so everybody needs to be cautious and prevention is the best treatment so if you haven’t been vaccinated, please get vaccinated,” said Dr. Katie Taylor, Medical Director of Infection Prevention at Our Lady of the Lake. “If you haven’t been boosted, which I know people were putting that off for a while because it was a ‘Get it if you think you want to,’ go get boosted now.”

For those who have gotten their booster shot, if they’re exposed, they don’t need to be isolated. They are asked to wear a mask for 10 days and get tested five days after exposure if possible.

Anyone who is fully vaccinated and tests positive with no symptoms is recommended to be isolated for five days and then wear a mask around others for another five days after. Those with symptoms have to be isolated for five days or until they have no fever for 24 hours. The day count should start the day someone tests positive. If they have symptoms the count starts on the onset of symptoms.

“So what they’re realizing is this infection is much quicker,” said Connie DeLeo, an Infection Preventionist at Baton Rouge General. “It’s still the 10 days if you’re sick or getting better and they’re also looking at saying we need to look at this realistically to get people back to work.”

Doctors understand the changes in information can be frustrating, but as the pandemic and variants change it means the criteria can be updated.

“The data backs that up. The CDC would not make that change without data. In fact, even some stuff we think might be happening the CDC never backs until there is a significant amount of evidence to support that,” said Dr. Taylor.

The CDC said based on data from South Africa, the booster shot helps protect up to 75% against Omicron and only 35% with just two shots.

Dr. Taylor said it used to be that being vaccinated or unvaccinated were the two ways to decide how to react to the virus, but it’s shifted from boosted or not boosted in terms of mitigation. She also said she is comfortable with this shortened isolation period. 

The following is attributable to CDC Director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky:

“The Omicron variant is spreading quickly and has the potential to impact all facets of our society. CDC’s updated recommendations for isolation and quarantine balance what we know about the spread of the virus and the protection provided by vaccination and booster doses. These updates ensure people can safely continue their daily lives. Prevention is our best option: get vaccinated, get boosted, wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial and high community transmission, and take a test before you gather.”

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