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Aug. 12, 2022, 8:05 a.m. EDT

CDC: You should get two negative tests or wear a mask for up to 10 days after testing positive for COVID-19

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Jaimy Lee

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday updated its guidelines for what to do if someone tests positive for the virus or is exposed to someone who has COVID-19.

Here are the key takeaways:

  • If you have been exposed to COVID-19, you no longer need to quarantine but should instead wear a high-quality mask indoors for 10 days and plan to get tested five days after the exposure. You should also take “extra precautions” around people at high risk for severe disease for 10 days. The CDC previously said people who were not up to date on their vaccinations needed to quarantine after an exposure.

  • If you test positive for the virus, you should isolate at home, and you can leave isolation on the sixth day if you are asymptomatic or fever-free. You should plan to wear a mask around others through day 10 unless you get two negative antigen test results. You should also avoid all high-risk people for 10 days. If you experienced moderate illness, such as shortness of breath, or severe illness and were hospitalized, or are immunocompromised, you should plan to isolate for 10 days. The CDC previously did not recommend taking testing to exit isolation.

  • If you have symptoms and believe you have COVID-19 but have not tested positive, you should isolate. 

“This guidance acknowledges that the pandemic is not over, but also helps us move to a point where COVID-19 no longer severely disrupts our daily lives,” the CDC’s Greta Massetti said in a news release.

Also, on Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration issued new guidance for how to use rapid at-home COVID-19. In some cases, the regulator said people should take up to 3 at-home COVID-19 tests to rule out an infection.

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