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Local health official expands on updated COVID-19 guidance

Published: Jan. 5, 2022 at 5:40 PM EST
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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed their COVID-19 quarantine guidance last week and have continued to update and clarify the changes.

What to do if you’re exposed to COVID-19

If you’re exposed to COVID-19, your next step is based on your vaccination status. You don’t have to quarantine if you’re vaccinated and boosted.

“You don’t need to quarantine, but you should wear a mask around others for five days after exposure and test on day five, if possible,” said Jordi Shelton with the Central Shenandoah Health District.

If you’re not vaccinated or don’t have your booster, you need to stay home for five days. At that point, you should get tested. If you test negative and don’t feel sick, you can leave quarantine.

“After that, you should continue to wear a mask around others for five additional days. If you can’t quarantine, you must wear a well-fitting mask at all times around others, for ten days after exposure,” Shelton said.

What to do if you test positive for COVID-19

If you test positive for COVID-19, you should stay home for at least five days, regardless of vaccination status.

If you’re feeling better and don’t have a fever (or were asymptomatic all along), you can leave quarantine.

“Continue to wear a well-fitting tight mask around other people for five days,” she said.

If, at any point, you start to show symptoms of COVID-19, you should re-enter quarantine and get tested.

The bottom line

Although the changes can be confusing, health officials say it’s best to be overly cautious. If you feel sick, get tested, and wear a mask when you go out.

“Where we’re experiencing such high levels of transmission, that’s a really effective way to keep yourself safe, and until you know if you’ve tested negative, it’s another way to keep others safe too,” Shelton said.

Shelton said these changes came about because we’ve learned more about the virus and the way it spreads.

“With what we know now, the change is really motivated by science showing that the majority of COVID cases, the spread occurs earlier in the course of the illness, so it’s generally 1-2 days before your symptoms develop and 2-3 days after,” Shelton said.

If you have any questions about the guidelines, visit the CDC’s website, VDH’s website, or talk to your doctor.

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