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Federal health authorities on Thursday updated the guidance for quarantining and testing, including schools for the coronavirus, a decision that appreciates the high vaccination levels in the U.S., immunity gained through prior infection and the availability of treatment.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that people who are exposed to Covid-19 do not need to quarantine provided that they are not feeling sick. Those exposed still need test for the virus after five days and wear a mask when they are around others for 10 days, the CDC said. People who test positive for the virus still need to quarantine for five days.
The screening of asymptomatic individuals have been dropped for most settings, the CDC said, adding that screening might be useful in vulnerable populations such as correctional and long-term care facilities.
Regarding schools and child-care facilities, the CDC no longer recommends quarantine cohorting for students exposed to Covid-19. The federal health authority also dropped a program called test-to-stay, which kept students who were exposed to the virus in classrooms through frequent testing using mostly home test kits.
The CDC backed up its guidance with data that shows the country's high vaccination levels, immunity gained through prior illness and treatments have blunted Covid-19's impact, even as the virus continues to spread across the U.S.
“Our goal is to provide sustainable guidance that allows flexibility and ensures everyone has access to information to protect themselves and others,” Branch Chief of the Field Epidemiology and Prevention Branch at the CDC, Greta Massetti said.
Ms. Massetti, who's also a member of the CDC's Covid-19 Response Team, added that the bulk of the CDC's guidance was unchanged. “Really what’s new is presenting it as a framework and how we are messaging the update," she said.
The V.I. Dept. of Health is expected to follow the CDC's guidance.
As of Thursday there were 216 active cases territory-wide: 144 on St. Croix, 64 on St. Thomas and 8 on St. John. The seven-day positivity rate stood at 8.734 percent.