KEY POINTS

  • New CDC guidance reveals shorter isolation period
  • Those who tested positive and have mild to moderate symptoms for 10 days can leave isolation
  • This is even if patients did not receive a negative second test

Most people who tested positive for coronavirus are no longer infectious 10 days after having symptoms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.

It appears that most of those who tested positive from the coronavirus are looking at a shorter isolation period as stated by the new CDC guidance. The new guidance states that people who tested positive and have experienced mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms for 10 days can leave their isolation even if they have not received a negative second test.

The CDC reveals there is increasing evidence showing most of those with confirmed coronavirus cases are no longer infectious 10 days after having COVID-19 symptoms, TODAY reports. The federal agency is also discouraging people from getting a second test after they have recovered. "For most persons with COVID-19 illness, isolation and precautions can generally be discontinued 10 days after symptom onset and resolution of fever for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing medications, and with the improvement of other symptoms," the CDC stated.

CDC says most COVID-19 patients not infectious after 10 days CDC says most COVID-19 patients not infectious after 10 days Photo: Gerd Altmann - Pixabay

For those who tested positive yet did not have any symptoms, the federal agency said they could discontinue their isolation and other precautionary measures 10 days after they tested positive in the RT-PCR test for SARS-CoV-2 RNA. Dr. Joshua Barocas, a Boston Medical Center infectious disease physician agrees with the new guidance saying most doctors believed for many months that having a negative test as a prerequisite to ending isolation is not practical.

In an interview with NBC News, he said that what they experienced on the ground aligns well with the new CDC guidelines, at least for the greater majority of people. "It's one of those cases in which the CDC is now catching up to the clinician," Dr. Barocas told NBC News.

There are exceptions, however, which the new 10-day guidance also mentioned. This does not apply to those with compromised immune systems who may remain infectious for longer periods. "For the average immunocompetent person, I think we can feel quite confident that after 10 days, they're no longer contagious," said Vanderbilt University’s infectious disease specialist Dr. William Schaffner, in the same interview with NBC News.

During a briefing with reporters recently, Brett Giroir, Department of Health and Human Services' assistant secretary for health, stated that in the past, to get out of quarantine, it is a requirement to test negative after initially testing positive. This is due to the early outbreaks that happened in cruise ships where people were confined and wanted to get out.

"That is no longer needed, and it is medically unnecessary," he said. He added that a PCR test may still show confirmed coronavirus patients as positive even if they are no longer infectious.