Illinois to align with new CDC guidelines for quarantine and isolation – NBC Chicago

The Illinois Department of Health has said it will adopt the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s revised guidance on isolation and quarantine for COVID.

The CDC’s action has halved the recommended isolation time for Americans infected with the coronavirus but not showing any symptoms. The CDC has also shortened the time it takes to quarantine people who have been in close contact with an infected person.

According to the new guidelines, people who test positive but show no symptoms would only need to self-isolate for five days instead of 10, but should continue to mask for five days after isolation ends.

The recommendation includes those who are not vaccinated.

The CDC has also reduced the time it takes to quarantine people exposed to someone with COVID from 10 days to five days, if they have no symptoms. These people should also continue to mask themselves for an additional five days after the quarantine ends.

Those who are both fully vaccinated and boosted do not need to self-quarantine if they are in close contact with someone with COVID, but must wear a mask for at least 10 days after exposure. The same goes for those who are fully vaccinated and are not yet eligible for their booster.

“Both updates come as the Omicron variant continues to spread in the United States and reflects current science on when and for how long a person is most infectious,” the IDPH said in a statement.

Still, the new CDC guidelines have raised questions about how they were designed and why they’ve been changed now, amid another winter spike in cases, this one largely due to the highly contagious variant. of omicron.

The CDC has defended its decision to shorten the isolation time, saying most transmissions of COVID have occurred one to two days before symptoms appear, and the following two to three days after onset.

Dr Emily Landon from UChicago Medicine has been asked to explain the new guidelines for NBC 5 and explain the steps residents need to take to adhere to the rules.

“When you’re completely better, with no more fever, then as long as you’ve been isolated for at least five days, once you’re better, you can come out of that isolation and start spending time alone again, or go back to your home. work or other things, but you have to wear a good, high quality mask until at least ten days have passed, ”she said.

Landon cautioned residents not to necessarily rely on this exact timeline, saying in many cases patients can stay contagious for longer, which is why wearing a mask is essential.

“Wearing masks after the five days is essential to ensure the safety of your family and others,” she said.

Another criticism of the new guidelines is that they allow people to leave isolation without getting tested to see if they are still contagious.

“It’s frankly unwise to do this,” Dr. Eric Topol, founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, told NBC News. “It is essential to use a rapid test or some type of test to validate that the person is not infectious. “

Some doctors have also pointed out that much of the science on how long COVID patients can remain contagious was done before the omicron variant became the dominant strain of the virus in the United States, and that it did not. is not clear whether the viral load carried by patients decreases at the same rate in those infected with omicron.

Although the new guidelines did not provide new rules for children and schools, Landon said the same approach to vaccination and quarantine should be in place.

“If you are a child who has not received a booster and you were vaccinated more than six months ago, you absolutely must stay home for the full five days if you have been exposed,” he said. she declared.

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