October 29, 2020

New CDC guidelines say people with mild to moderate COVID-19 only need to isolate 10 days

People who have had mild to moderate COVID-19 can come out of isolation after 10 days and don’t need to be retested before going back to work, new CDC guidelines say.

Symptoms, not testing, are the guide. If patients had a fever, it needs to have been gone for at least 24 hours.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention document, published Wednesday, says symptoms are a better gauge of how infectious someone is so they are “not kept unnecessarily isolated and excluded from work or other responsibilities.”

The document acknowledges that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is so new that doctors are still gathering evidence for how it works. As more data becomes available, the medical community is gaining a better understanding of how people who are infected can avoiding passing on the disease. The new guidelines reflect the latest thinking.

“We didn’t have this kind of data in the early days of the pandemic. Now they’re really moving towards science-driven recommendations as we apply the data that are coming in,” said Dr. Roger Shapiro, a professor of immunology and infectious diseases at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health.

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