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COVID-19 Isolation Time Shortened

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention recently updated its isolation guidelines for people who test positive for COVID-19, and quarantine recommendations for those who have been exposed to COVID-19 to shorten the amount of time you need to stay away from others.

According to the CDC, the change in guidelines was due to research showing that the majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the course of illness, usually in the first day or two before symptoms begin and two to three days after. These recommendations apply to anyone who tests positive for COVID-19, no matter which variant is making you sick.

Below are the new guidelines from the CDC.

If You Test Positive for COVID-19:

  • Isolate at home and away from others for five days, regardless of vaccination status.
  • If you have no symptoms or your symptoms are resolving after five days, you can leave your house.
  • Continue to wear a mask around others for five additional days.
  • If you have a fever, continue to stay home until you have been fever-free for 24 hours.

If You Have Been Exposed to Someone With COVID-19:

Exposure to someone with COVID-19 is considered being within six feet or less for more than 15 minutes of a person who later tests positive. CDC has updated the guidelines following exposure based on your vaccination status.

  1. If you are vaccinated and boosted,


    it’s been less than six months since you had your second dose of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine,


    it’s been less than two months since a Johnson & Johnson vaccine:

    • Wear a mask around others for 10 days.
    • Get a COVID-19 test five days after you were exposed, if possible.


  2. If you are vaccinated but not boosted and it’s been more than six months since you finished the Pfizer or Moderna series,


more than two months since your Johnson & Johnson vaccine,


have not completed the Pfizer or Moderna series,


are unvaccinated:

  • Quarantine at home for five days after the exposure.
  • Wear a mask around others for an additional five days.
  • Get a COVID-19 test five days after you were exposed, if possible.

If you develop symptoms after being exposed to someone with COVID-19, get a test and stay home until you know the result.

What Is Isolating & Quarantining?

“Isolating” is the CDC term for when people should be separate from others, even in their own household. People who are isolating should stay in a separate room and use a separate bathroom, if possible, from other members of the household. Don’t run errands or spend time with others in the household while you are in isolation.

When quarantining, people should stay in their home and avoid meeting with others outside their household or going into public places. You can enjoy a walk outside if you can stay away from others, but avoid contact like at the drive-thru window and have the delivery driver leave your take-out on the front porch.  

Accessing Health Care If You’ve Been Exposed

If you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you must wait at least 10 days after your exposure before coming to a Samaritan Health Services facility for non-urgent medical care or to visit a patient, even if you don’t have any symptoms. If you have routine medical appointments or procedures already scheduled, please call and reschedule. This precaution helps to minimize risk for health care workers and other patients.

If you are having symptoms of COVID-19 and need to be tested, find a testing site near you.

There’s no need to go to the doctor or hospital if you test positive for COVID-19 unless you are having life-threatening symptoms like difficulty breathing. If you are signed up for MyChart, you can schedule an e-visit if you’d like to talk to a provider about your symptoms.

COVID-19 Precautions Still in Place

As cases of COVID-19 rise across the state, continue following these precautions to help protect yourself:

  • Get vaccinated.
  • Get boosted if it’s been more than six months since completing the vaccine series of Pfizer or Moderna, or more than two months since receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
  • Wear a mask in public indoor spaces.
  • Avoid large gatherings if possible.

Taking these simple steps to minimize the spread of germs is an important way we can care for each other and our community during this difficult time.