Monroe County adopts new COVID-19 guidance to reduce quarantine, isolation time


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Monroe County will follow new guidance from the New York State Department of Health pertaining to quarantine and isolation time for people who test positive for COVID-19 and those who are exposed to it,

The new state guidance, issued Tuesday and adopted Wednesday by Monroe County, closely aligns with the recent recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but offers some variation.

The new state guidance calls for the general population who test positive to isolate for just five days after the onset of symptoms, or from the first positive test, down from the previous recommendation of 10 days.

If someone is asymptomatic at the end of five days, or symptoms have resolved, the isolation period ends, but wearing a well-fitting mask while around others is recommended for an additional five days post-isolation.

State officials say those who test positive or are exposed, and are immunocompromised, should continue to followed the previous standard of 10 days of isolation.

According to the state guidance, those who are exposed and who haven’t tested, but are vaccinated and boosted (with the booster at least two weeks before the first day of exposure), are not required to quarantine. These individuals are still encouraged to wear a well-fitting mask while around others for 10 days after the last date of exposure.

For those who are not fully vaccinated, or fully vaccinated and not yet boosted if eligible for a booster, they are to quarantine for five days and wear a well-fitting mask while around others for an additional five days.

For those who are exposed and if symptoms appear, officials say they should quarantine and seek a test.

State department of health officials say this new guidance supersedes previous guidance issued on December 24 that called for a shorter quarantine period for essential workers. The new policy includes shorter quarantine and isolation for all, regardless of vaccination or employment status.

State officials said additional guidance specifically for schools is expected to be announced in the coming days.

A joint statement from Monroe County Executive Adam Bello and Public Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza Wednesday said:

Monroe County will follow the Interim Updated Isolation & Quarantine Guidance released Tuesday, Jan. 4, by the New York State Department of Public Health. The Monroe County Department of Public Health is reviewing the changes and adapting its COVID- 19 protocol to align with the State.

We understand the rapidly changing landscape is leading to significant confusion about the best actions businesses, schools, organizations and individuals should take to protect the health and safety of our community. We are getting many questions, and will be working hard to provide as much clarity as we can over the next several days.

Of particular note, the CDC has also issued updated recommendations. These are recommendations only, and are not the same as the NYSDOH guidance that Monroe County will adhere to.

We anticipate having many more details to share with the public on Thursday, Jan. 6. In the meantime, we encourage everyone to continue following basic best practices that we have relied upon throughout this pandemic.”

Updated state guidance

County statement

Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.

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