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CDC changes isolation time from 10 to 5 days for positive COVID-19 test

The new isolation and quarantine recommendations from the CDC could bring temporary relief to...
The new isolation and quarantine recommendations from the CDC could bring temporary relief to employers who were already facing workforce shortages.(Dakota News Now)
Updated: Dec. 27, 2021 at 9:59 PM EST
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MID-MICHIGAN, Mich. (WNEM) - The CDC is now shortening the recommended times that people should isolate when they have tested positive or were exposed to COVID-19.

The agency said the change comes after studies show transmission usually occurs in the first few days before and after symptoms appear.

“It is surprising yes, and I’m sure people are thinking how does this even change?” said CMU Infectious Disease Expert Dr. Nicholas Haddad

COVID-19 cases are on the rise, but the isolation period for those who have contracted the virus is declining from ten days to five. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the recommendation on Monday.

“I do believe there are economic and societal ramifications for the pandemic, and that’s why the CDC has said hey let’s do this because it’s between a rock and a hard place,” Haddad said.

Haddad adds, although it may seem surprising the recommendation came in the midst of a new surge, the CDC may have felt it was necessary because of the current strain on employment.

“There are hospitals that are understaffed, we saw what happened over the weekend with the airline industry,” Haddad said. “That’s making more people available to service society.”

Those who test positive for the virus are required to isolate for at least five days. If they continue to experience symptoms, they must isolate for another five days.

However, those who are asymptomatic after the first five days are allowed to enter public areas as long as they continue wearing a mask for the next five days. Those who have been exposed to the virus but haven’t tested positive should quarantine for five days.

Haddad said the shortened isolation time, although concerning, is understandable because of what we already know about the virus.

“Because most infections occur within the first five days of symptom onset,” Haddad said.