According to recently revised guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States, people who have been confirmed with mild to moderate COVID-19 can leave their isolation without receiving negative test. Their key findings are the following:
- Concentrations of COVID-19 measured upper respiratory specimens declined.
- The likelihood of recovering replication-competent virus also declines. This means that people are no longer infectious 10 days after they begin having symptoms of COVID-19.
- Contact tracing study shows that high-risk household and hospital contacts did not develop infection if their exposure to a case patient started 6 days or more after the case patient’s illness onset.
- Recovered patients can continue to have COVID-19 detected in their upper respiratory specimens for up to 12 weeks, however, efforts to isolate replication-competent virus of the patients were unsuccessful.
- Specimens from patients who recovered from an initial COVID-19 illness and subsequently developed new symptoms and retested positive by RT-PCR did not have replication-competent virus detected. The risk of reinfection may be lower in the first 3 months after initial infection.
- Currently, 6 months after the emergence of SARS-CoV-2, there have been no confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 reinfection. However, the number of areas where sustained infection pressure has been maintained, and therefore reinfections would be most likely observed, remains limited.
- Serologic or other correlates of immunity have not yet been established.
CDC states, “For most persons with COVID-19 illness, isolation and precaution can generally be discontinued 10 days after symptom onset and resolution of fever for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing medications, and with improvement of other symptoms.
Some doctors have felt that a negative test to end isolation is not a practical solution.
The assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services in the US said last week during in a briefing that a required negative test after a confirmed infection is no longer needed, and it is medically unnecessary.
CDC recommends that persons who never develop symptoms, isolation and other precautions can be discontinued 10 days after the date of their first positive test for COVID-19. They also said that persons previously diagnosed with symptomatic COVID-19 who remain asymptomatic after recovery, retesting is not recommended within 3 months after the date of symptom onset for the initial COVID-19 infection. In addition, quarantine is not recommended in the event of close contact with an infected person.
Reference: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention