CDC drops its 5-day COVID isolation guidelines

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It is no longer necessary to isolate for five days after testing positive for COVID-19, according to a Friday statement from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The new guidance tells people to stay home if they are sick, but when they are feeling better and have been fever-free for 24 hours, they can return to school or work.

This is the same guidance given for flu and other respiratory illnesses.

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“Our goal here is to protect those at risk for severe illness while also reassuring folks that these recommendations are simple, clear, easy-to-understand and can be followed,” said CDC Director Mandy Cohen in a statement to media on Friday. 

The updated guidance “reflects the progress we’ve made in protecting against severe illness from COVID,” she added.

The CDC announced on March 1 that it is no longer necessary to isolate for five days after testing positive for COVID-19. (Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Prior to today’s update, the CDC called for people who test positive for the virus to “stay home for at least five days and isolate from others in your home,” a recommendation that was implemented in late 2021. 

At the start of the pandemic, the agency had recommended a 10-day isolation period for people who tested positive for the virus.

The announcement comes two weeks after reports began circulating that the agency was considering dropping the quarantine recommendation.

SHOULD THE CDC DROP ITS 5-DAY COVID ISOLATION GUIDELINES? DOCTORS WEIGH IN

Some states had already relaxed their own guidelines prior to the CDC’s official update.

In both Oregon and California, people with COVID have not had to isolate at all — as long as they have been fever-free for 24 hours without using fever-reducing medicines and their other COVID symptoms are improving, according to each state’s health department.

woman mask

At the start of the pandemic, the agency had recommended a 10-day isolation after testing positive for the virus. (iStock)

Dr. Marc Siegel, clinical professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center and a Fox News medical contributor, interviewed Dr. Mandy Cohen, head of the CDC, earlier this month.

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“She told me that they are shifting their focus more toward putting doctors and their patients in charge in general, acknowledging individual differences,” he told Fox News Digital.

positive covid test

Prior to the March 1 update, the CDC called for people who test positive for the virus to “stay home for at least five days and isolate from others in your home,” a recommendation that was implemented in late 2021.  (iStock)

Siegel said he is in agreement with removing the five-day isolation period.

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“The pandemic has been over for several months, and though there was an uptick this winter, with over 20,000 hospitalizations and 1,500 deaths per week at one point, it is now diminishing,” the doctor said.

COVID numbers continue downward trend

As of the most recently reported week ending Feb. 24, 2024, the share of administered COVID tests with positive results was 7.4%, a 0.6% decrease from the prior week, per CDC data.

Out of all emergency department visits, 1.8% of them were diagnosed with COVID, a 0.9% week-over-week decline.

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COVID-related hospitalizations decreased 10.3% from the prior week.

The share of all U.S. deaths due to COVID was 2.1%, which reflected an 8.7% decrease.

For more Health articles, visit www.foxnews.com/health.



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Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams is a writer and editor. Angeles. She writes about politics, art, and culture for LinkDaddy News.

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