The Pandemic

The CDC Loosens Its Covid-19 Quarantine and Testing Guidelines

You no longer have to quarantine if you've been exposed to the virus.

By Allison Forsyth August 15, 2022

On Thursday, Aug. 11, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention relaxed its Covid-19 quarantine guidelines. People who have been exposed no longer need to quarantine; under the new guidelines, you must only quarantine if you test positive for Covid, if you are experiencing symptoms, or if you are severely immunocompromised.

The CDC advises that if you are exposed, you should wear a high-quality mask for 10 days and get tested on day five. If you test positive, you must quarantine for at least five days, regardless of vaccination status. If your symptoms are moderate or severe, the CDC recommends you quarantine for the entire 10-day period. If you have any questions, talk to your healthcare provider for guidance.

“We [have] more tools—like vaccination, boosters, and treatments—to protect ourselves, and our communities from severe illness from Covid-19,” the CDC's Dr. Greta Massetti, said in a statement. “We also have a better understanding of how to protect people from being exposed to the virus, like wearing high-quality masks, testing, and improved ventilation."

"This guidance acknowledges that the pandemic is not over, but also helps us move to a point where Covid-19 no longer severely disrupts our daily lives,” she continued.

The CDC also relaxed its rules about testing. People longer have to undergo regular testing if they're asymptomatic and have no known exposures, and social distancing of at least six feet will no longer be required in community settings. That said, the guidelines are dependent on local Covid-19 community levels and the amount of proper ventilation in indoor locations.

The relaxed guidelines are an acknowledgement that Covid-19 is not completely going away; rather, they put the responsibility of protecting yourself on individuals. According to data from The New York Times, Florida reported 7,740 cases per day last week; while that number has dropped by 26 percent from the previous two weeks, deaths have increased by 10 percent. Since the start of the pandemic, at least 1 in 3 Floridians have been infected and 1 in 273 have died—6,909,416 cases and 78,559 deaths, respectively.

If you are unsure of quarantine guidance for your particular case, talk to your healthcare provider. Click here for the CDC guidance.

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