CDC shortens recommended COVID isolation, quarantine guidelines

Published: Dec. 27, 2021 at 11:19 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The CDC has changed its isolation and quarantine guidelines, which could get people who test positive for COVID-19 out of isolation sooner.

The agency now says COVID-19 patients will only need to isolate for five days instead of 10, as long as they don’t show symptoms. The change comes as scientists prove that most coronavirus transmissions happen up to two days before symptoms begin and up to three days after.

Business owners say the move could help businesses struggling to maintain a full staff under the previous guidelines.

“As short-staffed as our restaurants have been, add in the quarantine period of 10 days, and you lose a productive team member, and all of a sudden going into a busy time period for the holidays - you’re short-staffed,” Eric Terry said. “One of my members the other day lost one of their key managers going into the Christmas season, so it’s a real struggle as they continue to struggle to find staff.”

Terry is the President of the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging, and Travel Association.

“It should give us some immediate relief,” Terry said. “Getting workers back in five days could really help a lot.”

The CDC is also changing the guidelines for those exposed to the virus. It is now recommended that COVID-19 patients who are unvaccinated or are more than six months out from their second mRNA dose and not yet boosted can now leave quarantine after five days, followed by strict mask use for an additional five days.

The CDC says people who have received their booster shot do not need to quarantine the following exposure but should wear a mask for 10 days after the exposure.

Terry also hopes this will boost the travel industry, which in turn can help increase business for restaurants and hotels.

“Hopefully, this will start to speed up the return to the office, which is one of the factors that affects our travel industry. If businesses are not back in their office, they’re not traveling, having meetings, those sorts of things,” Terry said. “Our industries are not the only ones experiencing short staffing. Any service industry that requires folks to work in-person is experiencing the same sort of difficulties, so it should have a broader effect on the whole.”

Copyright 2021 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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