Clearing up COVID-19 confusion, part 2: Quarantine and isolation

January 18, 2022 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health
Categories: Healthy Driven Life

In January 2022, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its COVID-19 isolation and quarantine recommendations. Isolation applies to those infected with COVID-19 and quarantine applies to those exposed to COVID-19.

Note: The risk of developing infection is much higher if you are not up to date with all COVID-19 vaccines (have not received a booster if eligible) and even higher if you are unvaccinated.

COVID-19 isolation recommendations if you are infected

Isolation means separating yourself from others when you are infected, when you have symptoms or test positive for COVID-19. In its updated recommendations, the CDC has split the previous 10-day isolation period into two parts:

  • Days 0-5: Stay at home for 5 full days and isolate from others. Wear a mask around others at home. If no symptoms develop, end home isolation at day 5 and continue to mask around others until 10 days after positive test. If you are asymptomatic or have mild/resolving symptoms and a negative rapid antigen test on day 5, you can leave home and wear a mask around others for days 6-10. If the test is positive, isolate for the full 10 days. If you have a fever or ongoing symptoms at day 5, continue the isolation for the full 10 days.
  • Days 6-10: If you are asymptomatic or have mild/resolving symptoms, can leave home for essential activities, but continue to always wear a mask around others. Don’t travel, especially longer trips where it is not possible to always wear a mask. Avoid social gatherings and non-essential activities.
    Scientists have found that, for mild infections, people are most contagious the day before symptoms begin and during the first 5 days after onset of symptoms. In people with mild infections contagiousness lasts no longer than 10 days, so the extra precautions can end 10 days after your symptoms began or, if you never develop symptoms, 10 days after testing positive.

COVID-19 quarantine recommendations if you are exposed

Quarantine means separating yourself from others when you are exposed to COVID-19 (by being a “close contact” to someone who tested positive) but have no symptoms and have not tested positive for COVID-19.

A close contact refers to being within 6 feet of someone who tested positive for COVID-19 and is contagious for more than 15 minutes.

If you were exposed to COVID-19 and are not up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations (not vaccinated, or vaccinated but have not had a booster if eligible):

  • Stay home for at least 5 full days, from the day of exposure.
  • Wear a well-fitted mask around others at home.
  • Get tested, even if you don’t develop symptoms, at least 5 days after the close contact with someone with COVID-19.

If you were exposed to COVID-19 and are up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations (vaccinated and received booster if eligible):

  • No quarantine is required unless you develop symptoms.
  • Get tested, even if you don’t develop symptoms, at least 5 days after the close contact with someone with COVID-19.

Whether or not you are up to date with COVID-19 vaccines, everyone should watch for symptoms after exposure for 10 days after the last contact and wear a mask around others. If symptoms appear, isolate yourself immediately, get tested and stay home until you get the test results.

Edward-Elmhurst has COVID-19 vaccine appointments available to ages 5 and older, including booster doses for ages 12 and older. It is easy to schedule a vaccine appointment. You do not need a MyChart account. Schedule your COVID-19 vaccine now.

The information in this article may change at any time due to the changing landscape of this pandemic. Read more about COVID-19.

Nurse comforting patient

Resilient ICU nurses recognize the value of life with a baby boom

When the world shut down in March 2020, intensive care unit (ICU) nurses found themselves in a new realm.

Read More

hdlifecovidmasks

Clearing up COVID-19 confusion, part 3: Masks

As SARS-CoV-2 has evolved in its ability to infect others, the level of protection afforded by masks has taken on...

Read More

hdlifecovidquarantine

Clearing up COVID-19 confusion, part 2: Quarantine and isolation

Isolation applies to those infected with COVID-19 and quarantine applies to those exposed to COVID-19.

Read More