Utah public health officials update COVID-19 isolation, quarantine guidelines

COVID-19 virus illustration. Image: Pixabay

UTAH, Jan. 3, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — State and local public health officials have released updated COVID-19 isolation and quarantine guidelines following the announcement of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated guidelines last week.

The new guidelines are available at coronavirus.utah.gov. The CDC has indicated it is considering additional changes to isolation and quarantine guidance for the general public and for school settings, a statement from Utah officials says. If the CDC changes its guidance the UDOH will also revisit its guidance.

“We’ve worked with many different groups this week to review the changes CDC recommended,” said Dr. Leisha Nolen, state epidemiologist at the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) in a statement released Monday.

“Together with the Governor’s office, state and local public health leaders, healthcare leaders, and education officials we worked to make a plan that will work best for Utah. These guidelines are effective immediately for schools, businesses, and community members. Additional guidelines for healthcare workers, immunocompromised people, and those who work or live in a congregate setting, like a prison or long-term care facility, are forthcoming.”

Under the updated guidelines, anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 should:

  • Stay at home for five days from the day you were tested, even if you don’t have symptoms or feel sick. You can leave your house after 5 days if your symptoms have improved (fever-free without medicine for at least 24 hours and your symptoms have improved). You must stay home for at least 5 days.
  • Wear a mask around others for the five days after your home isolation.

For those who are exposed to COVID-19, quarantine guidelines depend on the person’s age and whether the person is up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccinations. Public health officials recommend anyone who is exposed to COVID-19 get tested 5 days after their exposure and wear a mask around others.

  • Adults aged 18 and older who have had their booster dose or are recently vaccinated (meaning they’ve had a second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine within the last six months, or had a J&J vaccine within the last two months) don’t need to quarantine at home. These individuals can continue to go to work and participate in activities; however, they should wear a mask for the 10 days after their exposure.
  • Anyone younger than 18 who is up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccinations (meaning they’ve had two doses of the Pfizer vaccine) doesn’t need to quarantine at home. These individuals can continue to go to school and work and participate in activities; however they should wear a mask for the 10 days after their exposure.
  • People of all ages who are unvaccinated, have not received a booster dose, or are not recently vaccinated (meaning they’ve only had one dose of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or were vaccinated with J&J more than 2 months ago) should quarantine at home for 5 days from the day they were exposed. They can end quarantine after 5 days as long as they don’t have any symptoms. They should wear a mask around others for the 5 days after they end quarantine at home. Students may attend school so long as they wear a mask at school for the 10 days after their exposure.

“We understand the changing guidelines can be confusing,” Nolen’s statement says. “Our knowledge of COVID-19, and especially the Omicron variant, changes rapidly. Data continues to show vaccination protects you from severe illness, which means fewer people miss work and school, or are at risk of hospitalization. Other countries have seen that prior infection alone is not sufficient to protect you from this variant.

“Please get tested if you have symptoms or if you’ve been exposed to someone with it. Stay home if at all possible if you’re sick, test positive, or have been exposed to COVID-19. We encourage everyone to wear a mask around others, so we can minimize the number of Utahns who get sick from COVID-19 in the coming weeks.”

To find a COVID-19 testing location, visit https://coronavirus.utah.gov/utah-covid-19-testing-locations.

To find a COVID-19 vaccination location, visit https://coronavirus.utah.gov/vaccine-distribution.


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