How Long Do I Need to Isolate?

The Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) has issued an update regarding isolation for COVID-19.

Christian County Emergency Management Director Phil Amtower offers the following highlights. The full report is here.

  •     Available data indicate that persons with mild to moderate COVID-19 remain infectious no longer than 10 days after symptom onset. Persons with more severe to critical illness or are severely immunocompromised likely remain infectious no longer than 20 days after symptom onset.
  •  Recovered persons can continue to shed detectable SARS-CoV-2 RNA in upper respiratory specimens for up to 3 months after illness onset, albeit at concentrations considerably lower than during illness, in ranges where replication-competent virus has not been reliably recovered and infectiousness is unlikely.
  • These findings strengthen the justification for relying on a symptom based, rather than test-based strategy for ending isolation of these patients, so that persons who are by current evidence no longer infectious are not kept unnecessarily isolated and excluded from work or other responsibilities.
  • For most persons with COVID-19 illness, isolation and precautions can generally be discontinued 10 days after symptom onset1 and resolution of fever for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing medications, and with improvement of other symptoms.
  • For persons previously diagnosed with symptomatic COVID-19 who remain asymptomatic after recovery, retesting is not recommended within 3 months after the date of symptom onset (because they still have some still in their system) for the initial COVID-19 infection. In addition, quarantine is not recommended in the event of close contact with an infected person.
  • A test-based strategy is no longer recommended to determine when to discontinue home isolation, except in certain circumstances.
  • Persons….appear to become susceptible again at around 90 days after onset of infection.
  • Thus, for persons recovered from SARS-CoV-2 infection, a positive test during the 90 days after illness onset more likely represents persistent shedding of viral RNA rather than reinfection.