NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. health officials are cutting isolation restrictions for Americans who test positive for the coronavirus and shortening close contacts' time to quarantine.
People with the virus can leave isolation after five days, down from 10 days.
People exposed to the virus can also leave quarantine after five days.
"Therefore, people who test positive should isolate for five days and, if asymptomatic at that time, they may leave isolation if they can continue to mask for five days to minimize the risk of infecting others," the agency said in a news release.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the changes Monday.
CDC officials said the guidance is in keeping with growing evidence that the coronavirus is most infectious two days before and three days after symptom onset.
The decision also was influenced by a recent surge in COVID-19 cases, driven by the omicron variant.
The news of the new guidelines comes after the CDC updated its quarantine guidance for health workers who no longer have to isolate for 10 days.
The agency said fully vaccinated healthcare workers, including receiving a booster, do not need to quarantine after being exposed.
Instead, they can return to work after seven days if asymptomatic and test negative.