Submitted by Lewis County Public Health & Social Services
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is no longer recommending a test-based strategy to determine when to end home isolation of persons who have tested positive for COVID-19. In an update posted to its website (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/disposition-in-home-patients.html), the CDC notes that accumulating evidence supports using a symptom-based strategy instead of additional testing to determine when persons with COVID-19 can end isolation and return to work and normal life.
Researchers have reported that people with mild to moderate COVID-19 are no longer infectious ten days after their symptoms began. People who become severely ill may remain infectious up to 20 days after their symptoms began.
According to the CDC’s latest guidance, persons with COVID-19 who had symptoms and were directed to care for themselves at home may discontinue isolation under the following conditions:
- At least 10 days have passed since symptoms started; and
- At least 24 hours have been fever-free without the use of fever-reducing medications; and
- Other symptoms have improved.
Persons who did not have symptoms should use the date that they were tested in place of the date symptoms started to calculate when their isolation period is over.
This is general guidance. A limited number of persons with severe illness may have to extend their isolation period from 10 days to 20.
Lewis County Public Health & Social Services Deputy Director John Abplanalp said the new CDC guidance will take some strain off COVID-19 testing. People can get their lives back on track if they are no longer feeling sick without getting retested and waiting for the results.
Abplanalp also said, “Employers with policies that still require return-to-work testing should consider updating them to reduce unnecessary testing and streamline getting their employees back on the job.”