CDC issues guidelines on self-quarantine for COVID-19 cases

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The CDC has issued guidelines for the number of days of self-isolation for people diagnosed with mild to moderate COVID-19 cases.

According to a press release from the CDC, those with such cases should isolate for 10 days. The guideline was made in light of new evidence that suggests that people with mild to moderate cases of the disease are not infectious 10 days after symptoms appear.

The CDC said that there is no equivalent data for infants and children but that the guidelines apply to them as well. Another change to guidelines is that these cases do not require retesting after being in isolation.

The CDC also says that close contacts of those who were diagnosed with COVID-19 should isolate for at least 14 days even if no symptoms have developed. Symptoms can appear after two to 14 days.

Dr. Karen Landers, who is the medical officer for the Northern and Northeastern Public Health Districts, cautions those who test positive to self-isolate.

“While waiting for their test results, these persons are likely to be contagious and need to receive instructions from a doctor or the Alabama Department of Public Health before returning to work and leaving their residence,” she commented in the press release.

Specific changes and additions to the guidelines are:

  • If COVID-19 patients have had a fever, the recommended number of hours that have passed since their last fever without the use of fever-reducing medications is reduced from 72 to 24 hours to discontinue isolation.
  • Asymptomatic persons can discontinue isolation and other precautions 10 days after the date of their first positive RT-PCR test for SARDS-CoV-2 RNA.
  • For persons who were diagnosed with symptomatic COVID-19 and remained asymptomatic after recovery, retesting is not recommended within 3 months after the date symptoms began for the initial COVID-19 infection.
  • For persons who never developed symptoms, the date of the first positive RT-PCR test for SARS-CoV-2 RNA should be used in place of the date of symptom onset to determine length of isolation.

Note: This post was updated to add clarification from the CDC on the length of self-isolation times for different cases.