Doctor says CDC COVID-19 guidance is ‘confusing,’ recommends longer isolation period


Linsey Jones, a medical assistant working at a drive-up COVID-19 testing clinic, wears an N95 mask, Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022, in Puyallup, Wash., south of Seattle. People using the facility, which is being run by the Pierce County Dept. of Emergency Management, faced waits of several hours Tuesday for testing. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

(KXAN) — There is still confusion over how long you should stay home if you are sick with COVID-19.

The advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is to isolate for the first five days if you have COVID-19. If a person is asymptomatic or their symptoms resolve within those five days, the CDC says the person can return to work or school without re-taking a COVID-19 test but should wear a mask for another five days.

The American Medical Association strongly disagreed and issued a response calling the CDC’s guidance confusing.

“I think there is a risk if you go back to school or work after five days of isolation unless you have a negative test. It gives me evidence you are not spreading or shedding the virus,” said Dr. Gerald Harmon. He is the president of the AMA and practices family medicine in South Carolina. Harmon is from Central Texas.

Finding out if you still have the virus after five days can be challenging without an over-the-counter COVID-19 test.

“We need more of those tests. I understand the Biden administration is doing their best to get them out. I could have used those tests as many as I can get yesterday, for sure,” said Harmon.

Harmon said he tells his patients to isolate for seven days.

“The magic number is probably between 5-10 days but there is no magic to it because there’s science. Because there is science, there is no definite number.”

Dr. Harmon says to talk to your doctor first and visit for what’s best for you and your family.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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