[co-author: Jared Joyce]
On Sept. 14, 2022, the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) issued updated COVID-19 quarantine and isolation guidance, which effectively replaces the guidance from May 31, 2022. According to the September 14 guidance, the NYSDOH will now follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines on quarantine and isolation.
Perhaps most significantly, under the CDC guidance, asymptomatic individuals exposed to COVID-19 need not quarantine regardless of vaccination status. Instead, those exposed to COVID-19 should wear a high-quality mask for 10 days and be tested on day 5. Those who test positive should isolate per the isolation rules listed below.
The NYSDOH’s adoption of the CDC’s guidance discontinues its prior approach of establishing different quarantine periods for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. Notably, the CDC’s guidance also states that screening asymptomatic individuals without known exposure to COVID-19 will no longer be recommended in most community settings.
The requirement that individuals who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate has not changed under the current guidance. Individuals who test positive are now directed to follow the CDC’s isolation precautions. The NYSDOH’s Isolation webpage directs visitors to the CDC’s Aug. 11, 2022 isolation guidance which establishes the standards set forth below:
When Must I Isolate?
- Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate regardless of vaccination status.
- Individuals awaiting test results must also isolate if experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. Those who test negative, may end isolation. Those who test positive, should isolate for a minimum of 5 days depending on the severity of their symptoms.
How Long Must I Isolate?
- Individuals who are symptomatic should isolate for at least 5 days, with day 0 being the day of testing, not the day that a positive test result was received.
- If after day 5, one’s symptoms are improving, their isolation may end as long as they are fever free for at least 24 hours without the aid of fever suppressing medication.
- If after day 5, an individual’s symptoms are not improving, they should continue to isolate until their symptoms begin to improve and they are fever free for at least 24 hours without the aid of fever suppressing medication.
- Individuals who experienced moderate illness (shortness of breath or difficulty breathing), should isolate through day 10. Those with more serve symptoms or who were hospitalized should isolate for at least 10 days and consult with a doctor before ending isolation.
- Individuals who are asymptomatic should isolate for 5 days.
Symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals who experience worsening symptoms after the end of their initial isolation period, should restart isolation at day 0.
Regardless of when one’s isolation ended, those who tested positive for COVID-19 should take the following precautionary measures until at least day 11:
- Avoid being in close proximity to those likely to experience severe illness if they become infected with COVID-19;
- Continue to wear a high-quality mask in indoor spaces; and
- Avoid public transportation and other public places if wearing a mask is not possible.