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CDC drops 5-day isolation guidance for COVID-19

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Friday that it no longer recommends people stay home from work or school for five days after testing positive for COVID-19.

The agency said its new guidance aligns COVID recommendations with the agency’s approach to a range of common respiratory viral illnesses, including COVID-19, flu, and RSV. The update comes as the U.S. reports fewer hospitalizations and deaths linked to COVID-19.

“Today’s announcement reflects the progress we have made in protecting against severe illness from COVID-19,” CDC Director Dr. Mandy Cohen said. “However, we still must use the commonsense solutions we know work to protect ourselves and others from serious illness from respiratory viruses – this includes vaccination, treatment, and staying home when we get sick.”

The new guidance recommends people who catch a respiratory virus stay home and away from others. It said people who get COVID-19 or the flu should return to normal activities when symptoms are improving overall for at least 24 hours.