Virginia health department issues new guidelines on who should quarantine when exposed to COVID-19

The Virginia Department of Health released new quarantine guidelines for those who are exposed to COVID-19, as it said immunity rates are rising.

If you are exposed to COVID-19, but are up to date on your vaccines or you have tested positive for and recovered from COVID-19 in the last six months, you will not be recommended to quarantine in Virginia.

Instead, VDH recommends that you monitor for symptoms and isolate if they appear.

“As COVID continues its progression from an acute pandemic to a more endemic state, we must continually reassess our recommendations to the public and our fellow agencies, considering not only potential disease effects, but also unintended non-clinical consequences of any restrictions,” State Health Commissioner Dr. Colin Greene said.

The health department said this differs from the Centers for Disease Control guidance, which defines the post-infection immunity timeline as being 90 days. That 90-day standard will, however, still be used for high-risk settings like health care workers, long-term care facilities, correctional facilities and homeless shelters.

“This change will apply to the general public, including but not limited to settings such as K-12 schools and early childhood education settings,” Greene said.

The move comes after VDH said immunity from the coronavirus is on the rise.

CDC evidence suggests that more than 75% of children have post-infection immunity to it in addition to vaccine protection. In adults, the CDC says post-infection immunity in addition to vaccine protection is at more than 90%.

“This change only pertains to quarantine recommendations for individuals and will not impact our case surveillance/case classification process for purposes of reporting probable or confirmed cases to CDC. Also, please note that the recommendations for isolation with active disease or asymptomatic positive testing remain unchanged,” Greene said.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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