Kids No Longer Required to Isolate After Exposure to COVID
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new COVID-19 operational guidelines for K-12 schools pertaining to in-person learning Aug. 11.
The CDC stated COVID-19 guidelines should reflect virus community levels, which are tracked and reported online.
Per the new guidelines, schools are no longer required to implement cohorts, screening tests, or quarantines in the majority of exposure situations. The report also affects general members of the public.
While masking remains encouraged in areas of high transmission, recommendations to keep students in the same groups or cohorts throughout the day have been removed. Routine screen testing recommendations have also been removed, but may be considered in periods of high transmission such as during an outbreak.
Perhaps the most significant change in procedure is that students and faculty who are exposed to COVID no longer need to quarantine themselves “unless they are in high-risk congregate settings.” Those exposed to coronavirus should still wear a mask for at least 10 days and get a PCR lab test at least five days after exposure. Symptomatic patients should get tested sooner.
The Food and Drug Administration advises exposed individuals who test negative to repeat testing a few times in the event of a false negative.
People with positive COVID test results or who are experiencing symptoms should isolate themselves for at least five days, according to the CDC. Isolation may end only when the patient is fever-free for at least 24 hours without the assistance of medication, and all other symptoms are shown to be improving. These individuals should continue to wear a mask around others and in public until either day 10 or they receive two consecutive negative antigen test results taken 48 hours apart.
If symptoms resume by the end of isolation, the patient must restart their quarantine period.
Regardless of an individual’s isolation period, the CDC advises those exposed or infected to avoid contact with individuals at high risk of illness.
Vaccinations for everyone six months old and older are highly recommended by health experts. The CDC also advises those at high risk of infection, whether due to a high transmission setting or a personal health risk such as an autoimmune disorder, should continue to wear masks.
In Montgomery County, officials continue to monitor recent elevation in COVID-19 hospitalization levels. As of Aug. 8, 159 people in the county have been hospitalized due to coronavirus infections – 10% of the county’s hospital beds.
Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Public Health Emergency Preparedness Manager Sean O’Donnel said the current COVID hospitalization levels are “nowhere near” as high as they were in January’s Omicron wave, but that the current rate is higher than that of the Delta wave.
The county recently re-entered high COVID-19 transmission.