CDC now recommends 10-day quarantine for most people with COVID-19

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UPDATE: Many experts have recommended isolating for 14 days if tested positive.

However, the CDC previously recommended ending isolation after receiving two negative tests and 72 hours since last fever. but now recommends the time- and symptom-based strategy.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently changed its guidelines for ending COVID-19 isolation, recommending a 10-day quarantine — as opposed to the recommended (see above) 14 days of isolation — for most people with COVID-19. 


“For most persons with COVID-19 illness, isolation and precautions can generally be discontinued 10 days after symptom onset and resolution of fever for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing medications, and with improvement of other symptoms,” the CDC states. 


For those who are asymptomatic, the CDC recommends discontinuing isolation 10 days after the first positive test.


The CDC also noted that a limited number of individuals with severe illness “may produce replication-competent virus beyond 10 days that may warrant extending duration of isolation and precautions for up to 20 days after symptom onset.” 


“Available data indicate that persons with mild to moderate COVID-19 remain infectious no longer than 10 days after symptom onset,” reads the assessment. “Persons with more severe to critical illness or severe immunocompromise likely remain infectious no longer than 20 days after symptom onset.” 


The CDC now says a person is no longer needs to test negative twice to end isolation: “a test-based strategy is no longer recommended except to discontinue isolation or precautions earlier than would occur under the strategy outlined in Part 1 [duration of isolation and precautions].” 


However, for those who are severely immunocompromised, “a test-based strategy could be considered in consultation with infectious diseases experts.”


The organization also addressed reinfection. 


“Reinfection with SARS-CoV-2 has not yet been definitively confirmed in any recovered persons to date,” reads the assessment. “If, and if so when, persons can be reinfected with SARS-CoV-2 remains unknown and is a subject of investigation.” 


CDC added: “Serologic testing should not be used to establish the presence or absence of SARS-CoV-2 infection or reinfection.” 


A serology or antibody test is a “blood test that looks for signs of a previous COVID-19 infection,” according to UCLA Health. 


The CDC still recommends isolating for 14 days after exposure to someone who tested positive.


Read the full list of CDC quarantine recommendations here.