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How do I know when my quarantine period ends?

This article was updated on May 27, 2024

On March 1, 2024 the Center For Disease Control(CDC) revised its guidelines for people who test positive for Covid-19. Under the new guidelines, people with mild and improving symptoms would no longer need to stay home if they have been fever-free for at least 24 hours. Previously the CDC recommended a five day home stay for people who test positive for Covid.

The CDC notes that while COVID-19 remains an important public health threat, it is no longer the emergency that it once was, and its health impacts increasingly resemble those of other respiratory viral illnesses, such as influenza, the flu and RSV.

These factors have enabled CDC to change its guidelines from specific to Covid-19 to a more general ‘Respiratory Virus Guidance,’ which includes all common respiratory viral illnesses. 

The new recommendations would not apply to hospitals and other health-care settings with more vulnerable populations. 

Based on these updated recommendations, here are some tips to get you through a bout with Covid 19.

If you test positive and have symptoms, or even if you test negative but are not feeling well, stay home until your symptoms are mild and improving and it’s been a day since you’ve had a fever. But then you can remain cautious by wearing a mask and keeping a distance from others.

Once your symptoms have become mild and you have been fever free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medicine, you are free to go about your daily routine. You may want to continue to take precautions such as masking and social distancing as you see fit.

Here are some basic guidelines you can follow if you have contracted Covid-19, the flu, influenza, another respiratory virus, or you just aren’t feeling well. 

  • Stay home and separate from others as much as possible.
  • Use a separate bathroom, if possible.
  • Take steps to improve ventilation at home, if possible.
  • Don’t share personal household items, like cups, towels, and utensils.
  • Observe any possible COVID-19 symptoms especially a fever (100.4°F or higher), cough, shortness of breath, and loss of taste and smell.
  • Monitor your entire household for COVID-19 symptoms
  • If you have an emergency warning sign (like trouble breathing), seek emergency medical care immediately.
  • Avoid seeing/visiting immunocompromised individuals
  • Practice proper hand hygiene practices (e.g. hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use alcohol-based sanitizer if soap and water is not available)
  • Here’s a complete list of symptoms associated with Covid-19

Of course, the best medicine is to do your part in helping curb the spread of Covid-19 with these proven effective tools.  CDC’s main tips for reducing Covid spread:

  • Get the Covid vaccine whenever it is available. 95% of people who were hospitalized with Covid this past winter had not received the latest vaccine.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes, and wash hands frequently.
  • Increase ventilation by opening windows, using air purifiers and gathering outside when possible.

Please note that CDC guidance for workers at nursing homes and other health care facilities remains the same. That includes a recommendation that medical personnel stay home at least seven days after symptoms first appear, and that they test negative within two days of returning to work.

**Here at Tayo we aim to offer the latest and best advice regarding Covid-19. The guidelines and suggestions listed below are based upon the CDC’s recommendations and other health care professionals. However, this advice may not suit each individual circumstance and are just meant as general guidelines. We encourage you to consult with your healthcare provider to get the answers that best suit your individual needs. 

This article was written and edited by the Tayo editorial desk and has been reviewed by an independent panel of subject matter experts.

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