The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a revised version of their self-isolation guidelines for individuals testing positive for COVID-19.
According to the agency's new guidelines, symptomatic individuals with the coronavirus should isolate themselves at home for 10 days after symptoms have begun. Additionally, they should also stay at home for 24 hours after their fever has broken.
Such symptoms include fevers or chills, cough, and difficulty breathing. Other minor symptoms to watch out for are body aches, headache, loss of taste or smell, congestion, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Furthermore, the CDC also said that a limited number of individuals with severe illness, including those who are immensely immunocompromised, might need to isolate themselves for 20 days after the onset of symptoms.
As for asymptomatic coronavirus-positive patients, they should also isolate themselves for ten days, starting the date of their first positive test result.
Lags in COVID-19 Test Results
The new directions were previewed last week when administrations said the CDC would advise people that two negative test results were no longer necessary to end isolation. The said two negative tests were the previous indication to end isolation.
The new guidelines come as the U.S. testing system is now facing constraints due to the prevalent surges of coronavirus cases in multiple states across the country. Test results now take as long as two weeks to return, which makes them ultimately useless.
Coronavirus testing labs across the country are now burdened due to the recent surges in cases. According to Johns Hopkins University's total count, 56,750 COVID-19 cases and 372 virus-related deaths were documented in the U.S. on Monday, July 20.
However, Brett Giroir, the federal official supervising coronavirus testing efforts, said that the guidance is not being released as a preventive measure for testing shortages.
The CDC says that various studies have found evidence that recovered coronavirus patients will continue to "cast off" viral RNA for up to three months. However, none of the studies have demonstrated that such patients could transmit the virus to others.
Symptom-Based Criteria for COVID-19
Moreover, the agency said that the study's findings establish the justification for relying on a symptom-based rather than a test-based approach for ending the isolation of the patients.
By following the recommendations, they believe that people who are no longer infectious by current evidence are not kept in needless isolation and excluded from work and other responsibilities.
Finally, the isolation rules are for those people who test positive for the coronavirus. The CDC continues to recommend 14-day isolation and quarantine period for those who have been in contact with an infected person who has not confirmed the infection.
While in self-isolation, patients are discouraged from going to public places, using public transportation, and going out to exercise. Exercise can be done indoors or in your backyard or garden, provided that no one else is present.
When getting food or medicine, U.K.'s National Health Service advises ordering essentials online or by phone instead. When possible, ask someone else to bring essential items to you at home.
Furthermore, when in isolation, visitors are not allowed, including friends and family. The only people permitted to be present with patients are those providing essential care to them.