SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) As the COVID-19 holiday surge continues across our nation, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced new guidelines and recommended steps to follow.
Among the new guidelines is lowering isolation time for people with COVID-19 and those who are considered close contacts.
According to our nation’s top medical professionals, everyone who tests positive for COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, should isolate for five days instead of ten.
If you have no symptoms or your symptoms are lessening after five days, you can leave your home. That is if you continue to wear a mask for five additional days after that.
Dr. Tom Lindsey, Associate Dean of Simulation at VCOM in Spartanburg and Chair of Surgery discussed the recent change in guidelines.
“I think it’s good. It is going to help workforce issues where people are home but asymptomatic and not able to work. I believe it is fitting with the data that it shows the majority of the transmission of the virus occurs either right before you have symptoms or within the first two to three days afterwards.”
The CDC also said that if you are exposed to COVID-19 and are someone who is vaccinated, plus is boosted, it is recommended that you wear a mask around others for ten days.
On the other hand, if you are considered a close-contact and are unvaccinated, the same rules apply as those who test positive for the virus: Stay home for five days, then wear a mask for five days following your quarantine.
“When people are five days out, for those who have tested positive but are asymptomatic, I think it’s probably safe to return to the public wearing a mask,” said Dr. Lindsey.
The change in guidelines comes as the country is seeing a spike in holiday-related cases and specifically an increase in the omicron variant.
“The omicron virus though, the variant, for people who are vaccinated seems to be a very mild cold-like symptoms. So, most of the people who are vaccinated do not have a significant illness associated with this. Unfortunately, people who are unvaccinated still have a more severe illness with this,” explained Dr. Lindsey.
In South Carolina, more than 944,000 total COVID-19 cases, including the omicron variant, have been reported since the start of the pandemic. North Carolina is reporting more than 1,600,000 cases and Georgia has confirmed more than 1,700,000.
“We are seeing, if you will, a biproduct of the omicron virus. It’s that, even if you do have the infection, have a mild infection, it affords some protection against other variants,” said Dr. Lindsey. “I hope over time that we will see more and more people be naturally immunized but I do think that having the vaccines and having the booster sets people up really well to them if they do have a mild case and have even more antibodies.”
The CDC says that people with the virus are more contagious the days before symptoms arise, one of the reasons leading to its decision to change the recommended guidelines. The changes do not lessen the severity of the virus and professionals still recommend that you take the necessary steps to protect your health.