CDC says a test to get out of COVID isolation is not needed : NPR


People line up for a COVID-19 test at a testing site in Los Angeles on Tuesday. California is starting to feel all the wrath of the omicron variant. Hospitalizations have jumped nearly 50% since Christmas, and models show that within a month the state could have 22,000 people in hospitals, which was the peak during last winter’s epic surge.

Jae C. Hong / AP


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Jae C. Hong / AP


People line up for a COVID-19 test at a testing site in Los Angeles on Tuesday. California is starting to feel all the wrath of the omicron variant. Hospitalizations have jumped nearly 50% since Christmas, and models show that within a month the state could have 22,000 people in hospitals, which was the peak during last winter’s epic surge.

Jae C. Hong / AP

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is not adding a testing requirement to its isolation guidelines for people with COVID-19 who want to end their isolation after five days.

Despite pressure from health experts who have advocated adding a testing requirement, the agency is sticking to its original guidelines that a negative test is not necessary for people without fever and whose symptoms improved.

Those who contract the virus can end their isolation after five days while continuing to wear a properly fitted mask for an additional five days.

The CDC included additional information for people who want to be tested before ending isolation, but they did not say people should get tested.

According to updated guidelines from the CDC, the agency recommends that if a person has access to a test and wishes to test, the best approach would be to use an antigen test near the end of their 5-day isolation period. .

If the test result is positive, an infected person should continue to self-isolate until day 10, according to the CDC. If the test result is negative, officials said the person can end isolation, but continue to wear a tight-fitting mask around others at home and in public until day 10.

The agency also released a brief explanation of the science behind their decision, noting that studies suggested that a small percentage of people (between 25 and 30%) self-isolate for a full 10 days.


A member of the Salt Lake County Health Department COVID-19 testing staff conducts a test outside the Salt Lake County Health Department on Tuesday in Salt Lake City.

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Rick Bowmer / AP


A member of the Salt Lake County Health Department COVID-19 testing staff conducts a test outside the Salt Lake County Health Department on Tuesday in Salt Lake City.

Rick Bowmer / AP

“Although many people intend to self-isolate, isolation and quarantine are difficult, especially in the context where many infections are asymptomatic,” the CDC said.

Still, the agency stressed the importance of wearing the mask, as modeling data has shown that around 30% of people remain contagious five days after receiving a positive test.

The United States reported a record 1,082,549 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University – with numbers likely to include cases from the holiday weekend.

The 7-day daily average of infections hovers around 500,000 per day.

Last week, the CDC shortened the number of days a person who tested positive for COVID must stay home from 10 days to 5 – followed by an additional 5 days of mask wear.

“The Omicron variant is spreading rapidly and has the potential to impact all facets of our society,” CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a statement about the change. “The 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 get on with their lives. safe daily. “

News of the shortened isolation period prompted a backlash from public health experts, who urged the agency to demand a rapid negative test to end the isolation.

The Biden administration, which has come under pressure not to increase the widespread availability of home testing, has put in place a plan to implement federal testing across the country.

Additionally, government officials have said they will also purchase half a billion COVID home test kits and mail them out, with deliveries starting this month.

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