CDC Cuts Quarantine Time For Health Care Workers To 7 Days With Negative Test

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COVID-19 testing specialist Susana Blasco reaches forward with a swab to test a driver at a drive-up coronavirus testing location Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2021, in Bellingham, Wash. Washington health officials said Tuesday at least 400 cases of the new COVID-19 variant had been confirmed, but that omicron hasn't yet overtaken delta cases in the state. Over the past two weeks Washington state has averaged more than 1,500 new, likely cases of COVID-19 a day. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday that asymptomatic health care workers who test positive for COVID-19 can return to work after seven days in isolation, provided that they test negative.

The new guidance, which cuts the quarantine time for health care workers from the previous 10 days, adds that “isolation time can be cut further if there are staffing shortages.”

It also notes that fully vaccinated and boosted health care workers do not need to isolate themselves at home following “high-risk” exposure to the virus if they have not tested positive.

“As the healthcare community prepares for an anticipated surge in patients due to Omicron, CDC is updating our recommendations to reflect what we know about infection and exposure in the context of vaccination and booster doses,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a statement.

“Our goal is to keep healthcare personnel and patients safe, and to address and prevent undue burden on our healthcare facilities,” she added. “Our priority remains prevention—and I strongly encourage all healthcare personnel to get vaccinated and boosted.”