On December 27, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ("CDC") shortened its recommended isolation and quarantine periods for people who test positive for, or are exposed to COVID-19. On December 30, 2021, the California Department of Public Health ("CDPH") followed suit by partially adopting the CDC’s shorter isolation and quarantine recommendations for the general public.
CDC Isolation Recommendation for People Who Test Positive
The CDC now recommends that people who test positive for COVID-19 stay home (isolate) for only 5 days. If, after 5 days of isolation, the individual is asymptomatic or symptoms are resolving, the individual may leave isolation but should continue to wear a mask for another 5 days.
CDC Quarantine Recommendation for People Who Are Exposed
The CDC recommends a similar quarantine procedure for individuals who were exposed to COVID-19, with two variations based on vaccination history.
For individuals exposed to COVID-19 who (1) were fully vaccinated with Pfizer or Moderna more than 6 months ago and have not received a booster, (2) were fully vaccinated with Johnson & Johnson more than 2 months ago and have not received a booster, or (3) are not fully vaccinated, such individuals should quarantine for 5 days following exposure. If possible, they should take a COVID-19 test on the fifth day. If no symptoms occur, or if the individual tests negative, then the individual may leave quarantine but should wear a mask around others for five additional days. If the individual experiences symptoms, the CDC recommends staying home and testing to confirm whether the symptoms are attributable to COVID-19.