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CDC updates guidance for quarantine after exposure to COVID-19

New York State says 'updated guidance is not an all-clear for New Yorkers to let their guard down.'

BUFFALO, N.Y. — On Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its policy regarding quarantining. 

Now people who are fully vaccinated may no longer be required to quarantine following exposure to someone with COVID-19.

More info from the CDC here

On Thursday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker released the following statement:

"Yesterday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance regarding quarantine following exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. According to the guidance, 'asymptomatic fully vaccinated individuals', meaning those who have received both shots and at least two weeks have passed since the second shot, are no longer required to quarantine within 90 days after the second shot.

"From the outset of the pandemic, New York State has followed the science and listened to the experts, and quarantine requirements only for New Yorkers who have received both shots will be similarly updated to reflect the CDC's new guidance. However, the science regarding COVID transmissibility post-vaccination remains unsettled, and this updated guidance is not an all-clear for New Yorkers to let their guard down.

"All New Yorkers, including those who have been fully vaccinated, should continue to wear masks, social distance, and be smart until herd immunity is reached and this pandemic is fully relegated to the history books."

Dr. Thomas Russo, an infectious disease expert with the University at Buffalo echoed that following all guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 remains imperative. 

He explained, "If you've been fully vaccinated, that means you do not have to quarantine with this announcement, however you still need to continue to use public health measures whenever you interact with individuals who haven't been vaccinated." 

Those measures include wearing a mask, social distancing and practicing good hand hygiene, even if you've received the vaccine.

Dr. Russo added while people who are fully vaccinated pose a very low infectious risk, it's not zero. 

"And it's particularly important that they're rigorous about public health measures because if they live in a household or social bubble in which not everyone is vaccinated. You don't want to be that individual that brings COVID into your house and puts those in your household at risk for getting subsequently infected," Dr. Russo said. 

It's still unclear as to whether or not other protocols like New York's travel advisory would potentially be adjusted as well.

More information on the travel advisory here

However, for the time being, Dr. Russo believes this announcement does move the needle a little bit when it comes to COVID regulations. 

He explained, "Really all this is doing is freeing up individuals who've been vaccinated to carry on their activities of daily living which often have societal and economic benefits. That is really what this is all about. It by no means indicates that we need to let down our guard in terms of following public health measures."