CDC “Streamlines” COVID-19 Guidance
Primarily, the updated guidance no longer differentiates between those who are vaccinated and those who are unvaccinated. While the CDC still maintains its position that it is important for individuals to stay up-to-date with their vaccinations, the CDC advises that those exposed to COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, need not quarantine.
Instead, they should wear a “high-quality mask” for 10 days and get tested on day 5. Furthermore, individuals who suspect that they have COVID-19 due to their symptoms should isolate and get tested. Those who test negative can end isolation, while those who test positive must isolate for at least 5 days. After 5 days, the CDC recommends the following actions:
- If after 5 days you are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of medication, and your symptoms are improving, or you never had symptoms, you may end isolation after day 5.
- Regardless of when you end isolation, avoid being around people who are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19 until at least day 11.
- You should wear a high-quality mask through day 10.
The CDC emphasizes that the isolation period may be different for those with a more severe illness or weakened immune system.
Next, the CDC no longer recommends screen testing asymptomatic persons with no known exposure, except in cases of “high-risk congregate settings, such as long-term care facilities, homeless shelters, and correctional facilities, and workplace settings that include congregate housing with limited access to medical care.”
Also deemphasizing the previous recommendation that individuals stay 6 feet apart to social distance, the CDC now states that “Physical distance is just one component of how to protect yourself and others...It is important to consider the risk in a particular setting, including local COVID-19 Community Levels and the important role of ventilation, when assessing the need to maintain physical distance." Finally, the CDC no longer recommends case investigation or contact tracing, except in “high-risk congregate settings,” as discussed above.
The purpose of the updated guidance is to “now allow public health efforts to minimize the individual and societal health impacts of COVID-19 by focusing on sustainable measures to further reduce medically significant illness as well as to minimize strain on the health care system, while reducing barriers to social, educational, and economic activity.”
Ultimately, the guidance represents a shift from institutional direction to individual responsibility.
If you have questions about how this updated guidance affects your business and/or employees, please reach out to your Knox Law attorney or call us at 814-459-2800.
For more information, please contact Sarah Holland.