CDC Considers Changing COVID Isolation Length

Positive COVID test | Image by Jarun Ontakrai/Shutterstock

CDC officials are considering changing the recommended isolation time for those infected with COVID.

Officials have been steadily easing restrictions and regulations put in place to guard public safety since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. President Joe Biden announced that he would end in May of last year the nation’s COVID-19 declarations of emergency initially instituted by the Trump Administration, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

Current CDC guidelines still advise that those afflicted with COVID stay home and isolate themselves for five days. CDC officials may soon do away with this recommendation, however.

Three anonymous CDC officials said that the organization plans to recommend that those who test positive for COVID use their clinical symptoms to determine when they should end their isolation. The organization plans to enact these changes to bring them more in line with guidelines for preventing the spread of other illnesses, such as the flu and RSV, according to The Washington Post.

The new guidelines would not apply to healthcare facilities such as hospitals.

Lara Jirmanus, a clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School, however, said that COVID needs to be treated differently from these illnesses due to it being more dangerous than the flu and the virus leading to other health complications. Jirmanus said that easing isolation guidelines, “sweeps this serious illness under the rug,” according to the WP.

CDC officials acknowledged in a briefing last week that the changing landscape of infections, accounting for growing immunity and decreased deaths, now warrants a different approach, reported the WP.

Michael T. Osterholm, an infectious disease expert at the University of Minnesota, said that the approach to public health must be “realistic.”

“In making recommendations to the public today, we have to try to get the most out of what people are willing to do. … You can be absolutely right in the science and yet accomplish nothing because no one will listen to you,” said Osterholm, per the WP.

The organization will likely seek public feedback on the new guidelines in April if they have been finalized by that time.

Dallas County Health and Human Services reports that the daily and weekly county-wide rates have decreased following a large spike in January 2022. Weekly county-wide rates as of February 10 indicate a rate of 18.14 per 100,000, down from 37.87 at the same time last year.

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