Updated CDC guidelines shorten isolation, still no test requirement
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continue to clarify their coronavirus guidance when it comes to isolation and quarantine.
People who test positive for COVID-19 can now leave "isolation" after five days as long as they don’t have symptoms. CDC recommendations say people who are symptom-free or never had symptoms can leave isolation as long as they wear a mask for another five days. They also urge against traveling until eclipsing 10 days since the first onset of symptoms.
Although CDC officials considered adding a testing requirement to leave isolation in five days instead of 10, they decided against the move because of the uncertain availability of tests for many people and the limited value of one negative test.
"After we released our guidance, or our recommendations, early last week it became very clear that people were interested in using the rapid tests, though not authorized for this purpose … after their end of isolation period," CDC Director Rochelle Wolensky said during a White House COVID briefing on Wednesday.
If you are able to find a test after five days in isolation, the CDC has this recommendation:
"If that test is positive those people should stay home for those extra five days and if that test is negative people really do need to understand that they must continue to wear their mask for those extra five days," Wolensky said.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz says the Minnesota Department of Health will release its own guidelines and clarifications based on the CDC plan within the next day or two.
"I don’t want there to be any confusion," the governor said during an online discussion about health care costs on Wednesday. "I want it to be very simple for people to see. ‘I’m asymptomatic. I tested positive. How long do I have to stay home? Do I need to test to go back to work or can I go back to work on the fifth day?’ My hope is we get that clarification out as soon as possible."