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BENTON HARBOR — Following the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s updated guidelines, the Berrien County Health Department is reducing its isolation and quarantine times.

According to a news release, isolation and quarantine periods have been shortened to five days, rather than 10, under the new guidance.

The new guidelines do not apply to congregate living settings or schools, including early child care and K-12 settings, or to those who work with high-risk groups. Those impacted should continue to follow current guidelines for quarantine and isolation, the release stated.

“These updated guidelines reflect what we know about the spread of the virus and the omicron variant as well as the protection offered by vaccines and face masks,” BCHD Acting Health Officer Guy Miller said in the release. “We strongly encourage community members to get vaccinated and boosted, follow isolation and quarantine guidelines and stay home if they are not feeling well. Guidance will continue to evolve as we continue to learn more about COVID-19, monitor its spread and talk with our community partners.”

The CDC reduced quarantine and isolation time for COVID-19 on Dec. 27. Initially, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced it would keep the longer quarantine period until it could review additional evidence, but opted for the reduced version on Dec. 31.

According to the release, the updated guidelines for those who test positive for COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, are:

  • Isolate for five days.
  • Leave isolation after five days only if asymptomatic.
  • Continue to wear a mask for an additional five days.

The new guidelines for individuals who are exposed to someone with COVID-19 are:

  • Unvaccinated individuals or vaccinated individuals who received their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine more than six months ago or the Johnson & Johnson vaccine more than two months ago and have not received a booster should quarantine for five days, followed by mask usage for another five days.
  • Individuals who have received a COVID-19 booster do not need to quarantine following an exposure but should wear a mask for 10 days following the exposure.
  • All individuals who have been exposed to COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, should test five days after exposure.
  • Anyone who experiences symptoms during quarantine should be tested for COVID-19 and stay home until receiving a negative test.

Contact: jknot@TheHP.com, 932-0360, Twitter: @knotjuliana