UF Health epidemiologist concerned that newest CDC isolation recommendations are too short

UF Health doctor concerned that newest CDC isolation recommendations are too short
Published: Jan. 4, 2022 at 11:26 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - A clinical associate professor of epidemiology at UF Health said the shortened Center for Disease Control isolation guidelines are concerning. After testing positive, the agency now recommends staying home for five days and then returning to day to day life if you have no COVID-19 symptoms.

The CDC previously recommended isolating for 10 days. Despite receiving backlash, CDC officials said they are sticking with the current recommendations on Tuesday. In a document, they said the guidance is appropriate because most of the transmission of the Omicron variant happens soon after infection.

“I would’ve preferred to see at least a seven day isolation period,” UF Clinical Associate Professor of Epidemiology Dr. Cindy Prins said.

Related story: UF Health Shands reports rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations while ICU patients remain low

The guidelines say to wear a mask at all times for five days after resuming activities.

“Returning people to activities after five days, especially in a context where you tell them to wear a mask but they may not necessarily do that I think that’s concerning for a lot of public health professionals,” Dr. Prins said.

Dr. Cindy Prins adds that testing is scarce so it’s a struggle for some to really know after the five days if you’re negative.

“To get tested in order to come back, I think we need to understand that a lot of people are just not going to do that if they can’t get a hold of a test,” Dr. Prins said.

While the CDC is now standing firm, Dr. Fauci said the CDC was reconsidering testing guidelines on Sunday.

“We’ve been getting some concern about why we don’t ask people at that five day period to get tested,” Dr. Fauci said. “That is something that is now under consideration.”

Gainesville resident Ali Rashad agrees with the CDC guidelines.

“In five days if you’re back to normal, you’re feeling good, you don’t have any symptoms then it’s okay to go back out,” Rashad said. “If you’re not 100 percent, you should take some more time.”

On the other hand, Tori Selph of Gainesville says the recommendations are unsettling.

“It’s putting people’s lives at risk. It’s probably just helping businesses. I know a lot of places are struggling right now.”

Dr. Prins stresses the importance of employers listening to their employees to reduce the spread.

“Employers need to be aware of that if someone has been isolated at home for five days and they still have a fever though, they should not be coming back to work,” Dr. Prins said.

She said it’s vital to wear a mask, infected or not, to limit the spread.

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