(WIVB) – The CDC updated its guidelines about who needs to isolate and for how long, after testing positive for COVID-19. According to the CDC, people who have COVID only need to quarantine for 5 days if they no longer show symptoms. This cuts the quarantine time in half, and local doctors tells News 4, they support this change.
“It makes sense based on what we know, about this virus, the omicron variant in particular. It makes sense based on what we know about the effectiveness of vaccines and it makes sense in particular in terms of the demands that we’re facing in terms of our healthcare workforce,” said Dr. Kevin Gibbons, who’s the executive director at UBMD Physicians’ Group.
“We want to get people back to work, we want to not have an unnecessary burden among those who are asymptomatic,” said Dr. Willie Underwood, who’s the executive director of the Buffalo Center for Health Equity.
The CDC announced “the change is motivated by science demonstrating that the majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the course of illness, generally in the 1-2 days prior to onset of symptoms and the 2-3 days after.”
The Omicron variant is spreading quickly and has the potential to impact all facets of our society. CDC’s updated recommendations for isolation and quarantine balance what we know about the spread of the virus and the protection provided by vaccination and booster doses. These updates ensure people can safely continue their daily livesCDC Director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky
“It shows the ability to adapt in part based on the science, which has been changing, we’ve learned more and more. We know more this week than we did last week and we certainly know more than we did a month ago about omicron,” Gibbons said.
Dr. Underwood says by shortening the quarantine time it could encourage more people to get tested.
“If I think that I’m going to be out of work for 2 weeks or for 10 days, then it makes me less likely to want to get tested, because I’m afraid for my family, what that means for my job,” Dr. Underwood said. “But 5 days? I can sort of deal with 5 days, companies can sort of deal with 5 days, and it makes us more likely to want to do routine testing.”
People who are asymptomatic and therefor no longer need to quarantine will still have to wear a mask when around others for five days after leaving quarantine to limit the risk of injecting others.
“I think it is very reasonable to, if you’re not symptomatic for the next 5 days, to wear a well fitting mask or a tight fitting mask, and again follow the rest of the social distancing requirements,” Dr. Charles said.
Sarah Minkewicz is an Emmy-nominated reporter and Buffalo native who has been a part of the News 4 team since 2019. Follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahMinkewicz and click here to see more of her work.