CDC: Covid test not needed to leave isolation, but is ‘best approach’

According to the CDC the ‘best approach’ for those who test positive for Covid-19 includes seeking out a rapid at-home test before leaving isolation (Pictures: Reuters/AP/Getty Images)

There will be no testing requirement additional to isolation guidelines for Americans infected with Covid-19 who want to end their isolation after five days, US public health officials announced Tuesday.

Following sharp criticism over their decision to shorten the recommended isolation period for those who test positive for the coronavirus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will not require a negative test for people who are fever-free and have improved symptoms.

While the agency stopped short of requiring a negative test, it did concede that the ‘best approach’ for those who test positive for the coronavirus includes seeking out a rapid at-home Covid-19 test before leaving isolation.

‘If an individual has access to a test and wants to test, the best approach is to use an antigen test towards the end of the 5-day isolation period. Collect the test sample only if you are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and your other symptoms have improved,’ the CDC said.

Despite pressure from health experts who advocate for a testing requirement to leave isolation, the agency has stood by its guidance that a negative test is not needed for people to leave quarantine if they are without a fever or symptoms.

For those who do take a test and it comes back positive, the infected individual should continue to isolate until day 10, according to the CDC.

If the consequence is negative, the person can end isolation but should continue wearing a well-fitted disguise around others until Day 10. Those who do not take a test should do the same, the CDC says.

Covid-19 tests have been in short supply nationally amid the spike in Omicron situations, and with many pharmacies and stores sold out of the rapid at-home antigen tests, many Americans have been placed under hours-long lines for tests.

On Monday, the US reported a record 1,082,549 new COVID-19 situations, according to data from Johns Hopkins University 

The seven-day daily average for infections is nearly 500,000 per day — both figures may be due to the holiday weekend.

The seven-day daily average for infections is hovering at nearly 500,000 per day.

Last week, the CDC shortened their recommended isolation from 10 days down to five, following evidence that people with Covid-19 are most infectious int he two days before and three days after they show symptoms.

People should use a well-fitted disguise for at the minimum five days if around others, both at home and in public.

The new guidance acts to balance ‘what we know about the spread of the virus and the protection provided by vaccination and booster doses,’ CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said last week.

It is also a recommendation, not a mandate, for employers, state and local leaders.

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