CDC decreases recommended quarantine time for healthcare workers in anticipation of Omicron surge

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FILE – In this Friday, March 6, 2020, file photo, the headquarters for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is shown in Atlanta, Georgia. U.S. health officials said Friday, Oct. 22, 2021, they may have solved the mystery of how four people in different states came down with a deadly tropical disease, even though none had traveled internationally. (AP Photo/Ron Harris, File)

ATLANTA, G.A. (WCBD) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday released updated guidance on isolation and quarantine time for healthcare workers as the COVID-19 Omicron variant continues to proliferate.

Under the new guidance, healthcare workers who test positive for COVID-19 but are asymptomatic can return to work after one week as long as they test negative. The CDC said that if staffing shortages become significant enough, recommended isolation time could be reduced further.

Previously, a positive COVID-19 test required at least a 10-day isolation period.

Healthcare workers that are fully vaccinated — including a booster dose — no longer need to quarantine at home following high-risk exposures.

The updated recommendations apply only to healthcare workers and are meant to mitigate stress on the healthcare system ahead of an expected Omicron surge.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky released the following statement:

“As the healthcare community prepares for an anticipated surge in patients due to Omicron, CDC is updating our recommendations to reflect what we know about infection and exposure in the context of vaccination and booster doses. Our goal is to keep healthcare personnel and patients safe, and to address and prevent undue burden on our healthcare facilities. Our priority, remains prevention—and I strongly encourage all healthcare personnel to get vaccinated and boosted.” 

Editor’s note: This story is breaking and will be updated.

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