DPH: CDC Issues Updated COVID-19 Isolation Guidance

The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) has adopted and recommends the COVID-19 isolation guidance that was issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday.

This updated guidance recommends that those who have COVID-19 should stay home until they’ve been fever-free without medication for at least 24 hours or their symptoms have been improving for 24 hours.

Since the start of the 2023—2024 respiratory virus season, DPH has taken a pan-respiratory virus approach to managing COVID-19, the flu, and RSV. This strategy has been consistent with the CDC guidance for managing viral respiratory diseases, including COVID-19, influenza, and RSV.

Additionally, prior to the start of the current school year, DPH partnered with the Connecticut State Department of Education to distribute operationalized CDC respiratory virus guidance to school nurses and superintendents.

When to Take an At-Home COVID-19 Test

man taking COVID-19 Home Test

At-home COVID-19 testing is one of our best tools to prevent the spread of the virus-alongside getting vaccinated and boosted. COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective at preventing infection, hospitalization, and serious illness, but no vaccine prevents 100% of infections. As the virus continues to evolve and cases are projected to spike seasonally, at-home testing helps you to determine if you have COVID-19 so you can prevent spreading it to others. Here are key scenarios and considerations to help you determine when you should take an at-home COVID-19 test and what to do when you get your results.

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When to Take an At-Home Covid-19 Test

  • You have symptoms of COVID-19.
    Refer to the CDC site for more information on COVID-19 symptoms.
  • You had close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
    Wear a high-quality mask after you find out you’ve been exposed, and get tested 5 days after exposure.
  • You will be with someone who is immunocompromised or at high risk for severe COVID-19.
    Wear a high-quality mask as an additional precaution.
  • You plan to attend an event or gathering.
    Consider testing right before you go to an indoor gathering as a precautionary measure.

If Your At-Home Covid-19 Test is POSITIVE

You should stay home and isolate away from others for at least 5 days after testing positive.

When to end isolation:

  • After 5 days if you have been fever-free for 24 hours and you had mild or asymptomatic COVID-19.
  • After 10 days if you had moderate or severe illness and/or you are immunocompromised. Consult your healthcare provider for further guidance.
  • If you ended isolation but your COVID-19 symptoms recur or worsen, you should restart your isolation from day 0 and consider re-testing.
  • Consider taking an at-home COVID-19 test to ensure you’re no longer infected.

Continued precautions:

  • After you have ended isolation and no longer experience symptoms, wear a high-quality mask through day 10 when around others.

Treatment and care:

  • If you experience severe symptoms, such as difficulty breathing or chest pain, seek medical care immediately.
  • If you are at high risk for severe COVID-19, consult your health care provider right away to discuss whether you need antiviral medication.

If Your At-Home Covid-19 Test is NEGATIVE

Re-test 24-48 hours after your first test, especially if you are continuing to experience symptoms. A negative test doesn’t rule out infection.

Continued precautions:

  • If you were exposed to COVID-19, take precautions to protect yourself and others (i.e. retesting, wearing a high­-quality mask) for 10 days after exposure, even if you test negative. Follow the CDC guidelines on COVID-19 exposure.
  • Knowing your COVID-19 Community Level can help you decide if you should take additional precautions, especially if you tested as a precaution before attending a gathering or spending time with someone at high risk.

Treatment and care:

  • If you continue to receive negative test results but symptoms persist, contact your healthcare provider.

Recommendations are from the CDC and current as of February 2023. For the latest COVID-19 information and testing guidelines, visit CDC.gov/coronavirus

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