The Health Department of Northwest Michigan has issued a news release addressing the CDC’s new advice on quarantine periods. It follows below.
New quarantine and isolation strategies released by CDC, MDHHS
Following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), the Health Department of Northwest Michigan is adopting the strategy released by the CDC December 27 for quarantine and isolation effective immediately.
According to the CDC news release, given what is currently known about COVID-19 and the Omicron variant, the CDC shortened the recommended time for isolation from 10 days for people with COVID-19 to 5 days, if asymptomatic, followed by 5 days of wearing a mask when around others. The change is motivated by science demonstrating that the majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the course of the illness, generally in the 1-2 days prior to the onset of symptoms and the 2-3 days after. Therefore, people who test positive should isolate for 5 days and, if asymptomatic at that time, they may leave isolation if they can continue to mask for 5 days to minimize the risk of infecting others.
Additionally, the CDC is updating the recommended quarantine period for those exposed to COVID-19. For those people who are unvaccinated or are more than six months out from their second mRNA dose (or more than 2 months after the J&J vaccine) and not yet boosted, CDC now recommends quarantine for 5 days followed by strict mask use for an additional 5 days. Alternatively, if a 5-day quarantine is not feasible, it is imperative that an exposed person wear a well-fitting mask at all times when around others for 10 days after exposure.
Individuals who have received their booster shot do not need to quarantine following an exposure but should wear a mask for 10 days after the exposure. For all those exposed, best practice would also include a test for SARS-CoV-2 at day 5 after exposure. If symptoms occur, individuals should immediately quarantine until a negative test confirms symptoms are not attributable to COVID-19. Please see this graphic for a summary of the new guidance.
“We know these changes may be confusing and people may have unanswered questions at this time,” said Lisa Peacock, Health Officer for the Health Department of Northwest Michigan. “It will also take the state and local health departments time to update documents on their websites and other printed materials. We ask for the public’s patience as we, too, adapt to these new quarantine and isolation strategies,” she said. “In the meantime, we urge you to make good decisions for your health, and the health of your family and community members.”
Peacock also added that these strategies emphasize the importance of being vaccinated, getting your booster, and wearing a well-fitting mask.
“The key to these new quarantine and isolation strategies released by the CDC is to follow good preventive measures – and that means getting vaccinated including your booster shot, maintaining a safe distance from others, and wearing your mask,” Peacock said.
Isolation refers to behavior after a confirmed infection. Isolation for 5 days followed by wearing a well-fitting mask will minimize the risk of spreading the virus to others.
Quarantine refers to the time following exposure to the virus or close contact with someone known to have COVID-19. Both updates come as the Omicron variant continues to spread throughout the U.S. and reflects the current science on when and for how long a person is maximally infectious.
For a list of vaccine providers and locations in Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet and Otsego counties, click here. To schedule a COVID-19 vaccination appointment with the Health Department of Northwest Michigan exclusively for children 5 to 11 years old, click here. To schedule a COVID-19 vaccination appointment with the health department for anyone 12 and older, click here. A parent/guardian must accompany those younger than 18 to a COVID-19 clinic. Please bring an insurance card to the appointment. Anyone with questions or unable to find a time or date that works for them and/or their child may call the health department at 800-432-4121.
Stay up to date on the latest information in the Health Department of Northwest Michigan jurisdiction by liking and following our Facebook page and visiting our COVID-19 Data Dashboard. To locate a testing facility, visit the Michigan COVID-19 Test Finder website. To track the risk levels of COVID-19 pandemic indicators, visit the MI Safe Start Map website. For more information regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, visit the MDHHS vaccine website or the CDC vaccine website.