CDC updates isolation guidelines

BOSTON — The CDC clarified its isolation guidelines and when to test, but for a lot of people, the update might need even more explaining.

The new guidance helps determine how quickly someone can come out of isolation, and it recommends the use of an antigen test.

The CDC says at day five of isolation, if you have a rapid antigen test, take it. If you test positive, you should continue to isolate until day ten. If you test negative, you can end your isolation, but continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others until day 10. An infectious disease doctor with Boston Medical Center explained why the CDC is encouraging the use of an antigen test.

“If you want to come out of isolation, ‘am I infectious am I going to transmit this to someone else’, so the antigen test is going to be helpful at that point,” said Dr. Sabrina Assoumou. “The PCR test is a more accurate test, especially in the beginning if you’re making that initial diagnosis. The PCR test could remain positive if you’re not infectious, so it’s not the kind of test you want to use to determine whether or not to end your isolation.”

If you don’t have access to a test and don’t have symptoms, the CDC says you can go out and wear a mask. But there is concern that some might not choose to test regardless of their health because they don’t want to isolate anymore

“I even worried about that from the beginning because if you’re an essential worker and you didn’t want to be out for too long, so ‘might as well not test might as well not know and not find out’,” said Dr. Assoumou. “But I am hoping that you know, we’ve been all been in this for two years. We all know that we’re all connected and that the way that any of us get out of this is if all of us, um decide to do the right thing, which is if you test positive, follow the guidance from the CDC so that you’re not transmitting this to other people.”

If you end your isolation without testing, the CDC urges you not to travel until 10 days. Also, you’re urged not to go places where you don’t wear a mask, like a restaurant.


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