The Omicron variant also “hits” the USA, with the result that the cases multiply, with the country’s health system being pressured. To address these pressures, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday shortened the isolation (or simply quarantine) periods for health care workers affected by the coronavirus.
According to the New York Times, the agency advised asymptomatic health workers to return to work after seven days and a negative test, adding that “isolation time can be further reduced if there are staff shortages.” .
Who will not even be quarantined
The agency also said workers who had received all the recommended doses of vaccine, including boosters, did not need to be quarantined at home after high-risk exposure.
The new guidelines apply to all healthcare facilities directly involved in patient care. This will include hospitals, nursing homes, dental clinics and other medical facilities.
While infections with the Omicron variant are more likely to lead to milder disease, the variant is highly contagious and hospitals are preparing for an influx of vulnerable Americans.
The shortest such return policy – five days, with some other conditions – is half the 10-day standard previously set by the CDC. Other hospitals have been set up in seven days as a safe haven for infected staff to return to work.
What was going on at the beginning of the pandemic
The new recommendations of the organization do not apply to the public. At the start of the pandemic, the CDC had set a 14-day isolation period for infected Americans to reduce the risk of transmission, but later reduced it as more research confirmed that a typical patient would be infectious for a shorter period of time.