ALBANY, N.Y. (WETM) — The number of COVID-19 cases nationwide continue their sharp upward trend as Americans return from holiday celebrations and settle into the new year.
At the same time, the CDC cut the quarantine time in half for those who test positive.
The constant updates to guidelines at the federal and state level may make it confusing should you test positive or come in contact with COVID-19 as more numbers and days get thrown into the mix.
Here’s a breakdown of the latest guidance for New York residents:
Isolation – CDC
On December 27, 2021, U.S. health officials shaved the recommended 10-day isolation time down to five days. These 5 days start the day you test positive, and the isolation applies to anyone—unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or fully-vaccinated—who is infected.
The CDC guidance says those in isolation should stay home for 5 days and then, if they don’t have symptoms or their symptoms are clearing up, they can leave the house. The isolation should be followed by another 5 days of wearing a mask when around other people. But if you have a fever, you should stay home until it goes away, according to the CDC.
Quarantine – CDC
Quarantine is for anyone who has been exposed to COVID-19.
Beginning the day you are alerted you were exposed, anyone who has a booster shot should wear a mask around others for 10 days and get a test on day 5, if possible. This also applies to anyone who was fully vaccinated with the Pfizer or Moderna shots within the last 6 months or the Johnson&Johnson shot within the last 2 months.
The numbers get a little more complicated for those who are unvaccinated, or haven’t had booster but got fully vaccinated more than 6 months ago by Pfizer or Moderna or more than 2 months ago with Johnson& Johnson. Anyone in this category should stay home for 5 days and continue to wear a mask for another 5 days after that. If quarantine isn’t possible, then the CDC says you should wear a mask around other people for 10 days and still get a test on day 5, if possible.
For anyone who was exposed, regardless of vaccination status, if symptoms arise, the CDC says to get tested and stay home.
New York State Guidelines
The CDC recommendations are simply guidelines, and states may choose to implement their own rules. New York’s guidance on quarantine adds even more numbers to the mix.
According to the NY Health Department, anyone who is fully vaccinated and asymptomatic but was exposed to COVID-19 does not need to quarantine. However, they should be tested between 3-5 days after exposure and should wear a mask indoors for 14 days or until they receive a negative test.
Unvaccinated people or those that haven’t recovered from a previous COVID infection in the last 3 months and have been exposed are required by New York to quarantine for 10 days after exposure. Testing is not required in order to end the quarantine if you don’t have symptoms during the quaratine. However, the state says you should get tested if symptoms arise within 14 days of exposure.
And for those who had a previous COVID infection and have recovered, testing and quarantine are not required if the previous infection started within the last 3 months. This means 3 months from the onset of symptoms or a positive test.
The state says that anyone exposed, regardless of quarantine status, should monitor any symptoms for 14 days, diligently wash their hands and wear a mask for 14 days, and “immediately self-isolate is any symptoms develop”, as well as contact the local health department to report your status.