February 14, 2024

Expected CDC COVID-19 isolation guidance revisions exclude those with mild symptoms, no fever

Editor's Note

This spring, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is expected to announce that individuals who test positive for COVID-19 no longer need to isolate if they’ve been fever-free for 24 hours and symptoms are mild or improving. Current guidelines, in place since 2021, recommend isolating for at least five days. The expected change—a departure from current guidelines to isolate for at least five days—was first reported to The Washington Post by four unnamed agency officials.

According to a CNN report on the matter, the updated guidance brings COVID-19 in line with guidance for influenza and other respiratory viruses. The science has not changed, but “experts broadly agreed” after the experience of relaxing state-level guidelines in California and Oregon that easing restrictions won’t have much impact on a virus that is already circulating widely, the article reads. However, other quoted experts disagreed with the pending change.   

According to the latest CDC data, COVID-19 caused about 21,000 hospitalizations the week ending February 3, which CNN reports is about 20% lower than this time last year but more than three times the low point from this summer.   

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