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CDC Shortens Recommended Isolation and Quarantine Periods


December 27, 2021

COLUMBIA, S.C.—The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Monday that it is shortening the recommended period of isolation to five days for people who have tested positive for COVID-19 but do not have any symptoms (asymptomatic) and of quarantine to up to five days for those exposed to COVID-19. 

Both five-day periods are followed by five more days of wearing a well-fitting mask when around others. If someone who has tested positive has any symptoms after five days, they should continue to isolate until they meet criteria for release from isolation.  

For fully vaccinated people who have received a booster shot, no quarantine is needed after an exposure, but a mask should be worn around others for 10 days. For exposed unvaccinated people or those more than six months out from their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or two months out from the Jansen vaccine who have not received a booster shot, the CDC recommends quarantining for five days followed by strict mask use for an additional five days.

If a five-day quarantine is not feasible, the exposed person must wear a mask at all times when around others for 10 days following exposure. All exposed people are recommended to get tested five days after exposure, or at any point if they develop symptoms. 

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is reviewing the CDC’s updated recommendations and will update our guidance as appropriate later this week.  

The CDC is basing its new guidance on the latest science that shows the majority of COVID-19 transmissions occur early in the infection, usually in the one to two days prior to the onset of symptoms, and in the two to three days after symptoms appear. 




COVID-19 Booster Shots Can Wait

Vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 are proving quite safe and highly effective in the prevention of COVID-19, especially severe and/or fatal disease.

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