The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday cut COVID-19 isolation times in half to five days and shortened the quarantine length for time close contacts.
The reduced isolation times come in response to the omicron variant and new data showing how the virus is transmitted.
People who test positive for COVID-19 are now recommended to isolate for five days and if they are asymptomatic, they may then leave quarantine and mask for five days. The CDC wrote in a press release that data shows the virus is transmitted "early in the course of illness, generally in the 1-2 days prior to onset of symptoms and the 2-3 days after."
If a vaccinated person is exposed to COVID, the CDC does not recommend that they isolate. However, the CDC shortened the quarantine period for someone who was exposed and is unvaccinated or has not been boosted 6 months after their mRNA vaccine dose. People in that group are recommended to isolate for 5 days after exposure and wear a mask for the next five days in public.