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WI Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake’s statement on CDC recommendations to shorten isolation and quarantine periods

“The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) supports Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations to shorten isolation and quarantine periods for the general public, given what we know right now about COVID-19 and the Omicron variant. Science shows that the majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission happens early in the illness, so CDC has shortened the recommended length of isolation from 10 days to five days for people with COVID-19 who do not have any COVID-19 symptoms, followed by five days of wearing a well-fitting mask to minimize the risk of infecting others.

If you are a person who has been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and you are unvaccinated, or are more than six months out from your second mRNA dose or more than two months after the J&J vaccine and have not yet gotten a booster, you should quarantine – stay home and completely away from others – for five days followed by strict mask use for an additional five days. However, people who are current with vaccine recommendations do not need to quarantine after exposure to COVID-19, but should wear a well-fitting mask when around other people for 10 days.

Following an exposure to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, everyone, regardless of vaccination status, should get tested on day five after exposure, and if symptoms occur, quarantine immediately until a negative test confirms those symptoms are not due to COVID-19. Increased testing will help us identify any cases of Omicron quickly so that we can learn more about this latest variant and get an accurate picture of disease activity in our state.

We urge all Wisconsinites to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in our state by getting vaccinated, getting boosted, continuing to wear masks in indoor public settings, and staying home when sick.”

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