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The Minnesota Department of Health will update its guidance after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shortened the recommended time someone isolates after testing positive for COVID-19. 

The CDC on Monday shortened the recommended isolation period for people who have COVID and don't have symptoms from 10 days to five days (starting the day you test positive), followed by five days of wearing a mask when around other people. 

The federal health agency also updated its recommended quarantine period for those exposed to COVID-19 to five days for those who have been boosted (it's quite complicated — see more on this at the bottom of the page).

Those who do have symptoms or develop symptoms while quarantining should stay home, health officials say. 

“The omicron variant is spreading quickly and has the potential to impact all facets of our society. CDC’s updated recommendations for isolation and quarantine balance what we know about the spread of the virus and the protection provided by vaccination and booster doses," CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a statement. "These updates ensure people can safely continue their daily lives. Prevention is our best option: get vaccinated, get boosted, wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial and high community transmission, and take a test before you gather.”

The CDC says the majority of COVID transmission generally happens in the 1-2 days before someone gets symptoms and the 2-3 days after someone experiences symptoms, so after five days people who test positive can leave isolation so long as they wear a well-fitting mask for the next five days to minimize the risk of infecting others. 

Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Commissioner Jan Malcolm released a statement following the CDC's change in guidance saying they'll review it and update MDH's Minnesota guidance and materials "to align with these new recommendations as soon as the guidance becomes available from CDC."

"As has happened throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, officials have been following the science and updating public health recommendations to best reflect the current state of the pandemic," Malcolm said.

The CDC's change in guidance comes as COVID-19 cases are surging across the country thanks to the highly contagious omicron variant. It also comes as a growing number of businesses have called on the CDC to cut isolation and quarantine periods, saying the recommended 10 days was based on data when most people were not vaccinated. 

Among those businesses calling for shorter isolation and quarantine time for vaccinated people is Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastain. He sent a letter to the CDC about this last week, arguing the 10-day guidance negatively impacts workers and the omicron variant could "exacerbate shortages and create significant disruptions." Delta and other airlines urged the change after COVID created staffing shortages, leading to thousands of canceled flights around Christmas. 

This has led to people questioning whether the CDC made the changes to appease businesses and a slew of tweets mocking the new guidance. 

Association of Flight Attendants President Sara Nelson said in a statement it is "less than reassuring" that the CDC's new guidance aligns with the number of days "pushed by corporate America."

Nelson added that this could lead to businesses pressuring workers to return to work before they feel better, which will cause a "much greater disruption than any 'staffing shortages.'"

"We cannot allow pandemic fatigue to lead to decisions that extend the life of the pandemic or put policies on the backs of workers," Nelson said.  

But it's not just businesses who've called for shorted isolation and quarantine periods. Lindsay Wiley, an American University public health law expert, told The Associated Press some experts have been calling for this change for months because they appear to be sufficient to slow the spread of COVID.

Dr. Anthony Fauci maintains reduced isolation and quarantine times are safe and help to not disrupt society, according to CBS News. He also suggested the federal government should require COVID vaccines for domestic flights. 

MDH encourages Minnesotans to continue to take steps to prevent severe illness and death, as well as the health care system, by getting vaccinated, getting a booster when eligible, wearing a mask in indoor public places, getting tested for COVID if exposed, washing hands frequently and staying home when sick. 

Shortened quarantine if exposed to COVID

In addition to shortening the time vaccinated people should isolate if they test positive for COVID, the CDC updated its guidance for those who are exposed to COVID-19. 

Here's a breakdown: 

- If you are unvaccinated, got your second mRNA jab more than six months ago or your J&J jab more than two months ago, you should quarantine for five days followed by five days of "strict mask use," the CDC says. If a five-day quarantine "is not feasible, it is imperative that an exposed person wear a well-fitting mask at all times when around others for 10 days after exposure."

- Those who have their booster dose do not need to quarantine if they are exposed to COVID but they should wear a mask for 10 days after exposure.

- Everyone who is exposed to COVID should get a COVID test five days after exposure. And if symptoms occur, people should immediately quarantine until a negative test confirms symptoms are not from COVID.

- If you are unvaccinated, got your second mRNA jab more than six months ago or your J&J jab more than two months ago, you should quarantine for five days followed by five days of "strict mask use." If a five-day quarantine "is not feasible, it is imperative that an exposed person wear a well-fitting mask at all times when around others for 10 days after exposure."

- Those who have their booster dose do not need to quarantine if they are exposed to COVID but they should wear a mask for 10 days after exposure.

- Everyone who is exposed to COVID should get a COVID test five days after exposure. And if symptoms occur, people should immediately quarantine until a negative test confirms symptoms are not from COVID.

- If you develop symptoms, you should immediately quarantine until a negative test confirms symptoms are not from COVID. And if you test positive, isolate for five days and then wear a mask around people for the next five days. 

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