The Centers for Disease Control has issued new guidance regarding quarantine requirements for individuals who have been vaccinated, and for those who have recovered from a COVID-19 infection.
For those who have received the vaccine, the CDC is no longer recommending quarantine following close contact with an infected person if the individual meets all three of the following criteria:
- The individual is fully vaccinated (i.e., ≥2 weeks following receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series, or ≥2 weeks following receipt of one dose of a single-dose vaccine);
- No more than three months have passed following receipt of the last vaccine dose; and
- The individual remains asymptomatic.
While the CDC acknowledges that "the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission from vaccinated persons to others is still uncertain," the agency points to the demonstrated effectiveness of the vaccine at preventing symptomatic COVID-19, and has stated that the "individual and societal benefits of avoiding unnecessary quarantine may outweigh the potential but unknown risk of transmission."
For those who have recovered from a COVID-19 infection, the CDC is no longer recommending quarantine following close contact with an infected person if the individual meets all three of the following criteria:
- The individual has recovered from illness due to laboratory-confirmed (RT-PCR or antigen) SARS-CoV-2 infection and has already met criteria to end isolation;
- No more than 90 days have passed since the onset of symptoms of the individual's initial laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection or since the individual's first positive SARS-CoV-2 test result if they were asymptomatic during initial infection; and
- The individual remains asymptomatic since the new exposure.
While the CDC notes that "it is unknown if recovered adults are definitively immune to SARS-CoV-2 reinfection," the agency says that "available evidence suggests that most recovered adults would have a degree of immunity for at least 90 days following initial diagnosis," and that, when preventative strategies like masking, social distancing, and hand washing are observed, "the risks of potential SARS-CoV-2 transmission from recovered adults is generally too low to justify retesting and quarantine."
In issuing these new guidelines, the CDC notes that individuals should still observe all state and local requirements about testing and quarantining.
The most recent guidance from New Hampshire is consistent with the CDC's new recommendations. The Granite state has exempted from quarantine requirements those individuals who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 if at least 14 days have passed since the last of your COVID-19 vaccine. Also, those who have tested positive for active COVID-19 infection by PCR or antigen testing within the last 90 days need not quarantine following subsequent exposure. However, exempted individuals must still observe other preventative measures including wearing face coverings and maintaining social distance.
Massachusetts, on the other hand—as of this writing—has not changed its quarantine guidelines, and vaccinated individuals, and those who have recovered from an infection must continue to comply with testing and quarantine requirements and travel restrictions.
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