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UAB’s Dr. Saag on the new CDC COVID guidelines

Published: Jan. 5, 2022 at 11:47 AM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - “It’s a bad idea to test out of isolation,” said UAB’s Dr. Michael Saag on Good Day Alabama Wednesday morning. Dr. Saag was asked about the new CDC COVID guidelines and some of the confusion about leaving isolation sooner than the once recommended ten days.

Saag said the reason behind the new quarantine guidelines is based on studies about infection timelines. Saag said the peak time for a person to transmit COVID to someone else is about 12 hours before symptoms develop up to about three days following.

If you get COVID, Saag said the new guidelines are to wait five days from when your symptoms developed. If you’re symptom-free and 24 hours free of fever, it is okay to go back to work.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday explained the scientific rationale for shortening its COVID-19 isolation and quarantine recommendations, and clarified that the guidance applies to kids as well as adults.

The CDC also maintained that, for people who catch COVID-19, testing is not required to emerge from five days of isolation — despite hints from other federal officials that the agency was reconsidering that.

On Tuesday, the CDC posted documents designed to address questions about the latest recommendations.

In laying out the scientific basis for the revisions, the agency said more than 100 studies from 17 countries indicate that most transmission happens early in an infection. The CDC acknowledged the data come from research done when delta and other pre-omicron variants were causing the most infections. But the agency also pointed to limited, early data from the U.S. and South Korea that suggests the time between exposure and the appearance of symptoms may be shorter for omicron than for earlier variants.

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