Discontinuation of Isolation for Persons with COVID -19 Not in Healthcare Settings, Recommendations from CDC

Guidelines to discontinue isolation after being diagnosed with COVID-19 either clinically (by symptoms only) or by RNA nasopharyngeal testing (with and without symptoms) for patients who are not healthcare providers:

For Symptomatic Persons with COVID-19 Under Isolation:

1). Symptom-based strategy

May discontinue isolation under the following conditions:

  • At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
  • Improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath), and
  • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

2). Test-based strategy (if available)

May discontinue isolation under the following conditions:

  • Resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
  • Improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath), and
  • Negative results of an FDA Emergency Use Authorized COVID-19 molecular assay for detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA from at least two consecutive respiratory specimens collected ≥24 hours apart (total of two negative specimens). 

For Asymptomatic Persons Who have Tested Positive and are Under Isolation:

1). Time-based strategy*

May discontinue isolation under the following conditions:

  • At least 10 days have passed since the date of their first positive COVID-19 diagnostic test assuming they have not subsequently developed symptoms since their positive test.
  • If they develop symptoms, then the symptom-based or test-based strategy should be used.

2). Test-based strategy*

May discontinue isolation under the following conditions:

  • Negative results of an FDA Emergency Use Authorized COVID-19 molecular assay for detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA from at least two consecutive respiratory specimens collected ≥24 hours apart (total of two negative specimens)*.

*Note, because of the absence of symptoms, it is not possible to gauge where these individuals are in the course of their illness, and it is possible that the duration of viral shedding could be longer or shorter than 10 days after their first positive test. There have been reports of prolonged detection of RNA without direct correlation to viral culture.

For the full CDC recommendation: Discontinuation of Isolation for Persons with COVID -19 Not in Healthcare Settings, Recommendations from CDC