May 7, 2020

CDC Extends Recommended Isolation Time for Persons with COVID-19 to Ten Days

CDC has extended its recommended period of isolation for individuals with COVID-19 from seven to ten days, according to updated guidance released May 3. The change reflects new evidence suggesting a longer period of viral shedding.

“This more cautious approach is intended to more stringently limit transmissions that may occur from persons following recovery from illness and thereby enhance ongoing efforts to control COVID-19 illness,” the guidance states. “Although this change increases an individual’s isolation period, as illness incidence decreases it will affect fewer persons and thereby limit overall societal burden of time spent in isolation.”

The guidance presents an interim “symptom-based” strategy for discontinuing isolation of persons with the disease in places where community transmission of COVID-19 is occurring and testing for the disease is impractical. This strategy involves determining time-since-illness-onset and time-since-recovery. For people who have recovered from COVID-19, CDC recommends isolation for at least ten days after illness onset and at least three days after recovery.

The agency cautions that a symptom-based strategy cannot prevent all infections.