On December 27, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that “given what we currently know about COVID-19 and the Omicron variant, CDC is shortening the recommended time for isolation from 10 days for people with COVID-19 to 5 days, if asymptomatic, followed by 5 days of wearing a mask when around others.” The CDC explained that the shortened isolation time requirements are based on the fact that the majority of COVID-19 transmission typically occurs in the first one-to-two days of sickness, before the individual even exhibits symptoms and then for two-to-three days after.
Similarly, the CDC shortened the quarantine period for individuals exposed to COVID-19 but who have yet to test positive. The recommended quarantine period for individuals who have been exposed depends on whether the individual is symptomatic and whether they are fully vaccinated and boosted.
Exposed individuals should take a COVID-19 antigen test on the fifth day following exposure. Further, if an individual experiences symptoms associated with COVID-19, the individual should “quarantine until a negative test confirms symptoms are not attributable to COVID-19.”
The shortened quarantine and isolation recommendations, and what appears to be the decreased severity of the Omicron variant in comparison to earlier variants of the COVID-19 virus, are encouraging. However, businesses should continue to evaluate their COVID-19 response plans based on their individual business needs, state and local laws, and employee wellbeing. We recommend monitoring whether any state in which your business operates explicitly adopts or rejects the CDC shortened quarantine timeline. If this occurs and we can be of assistance to you or your company, please contact your Foley attorney to be directed to the appropriate resource.