Believe it or not there is still a lot of confusion over what to do if you’re exposed to someone that tests positive for COVID-19. That’s largely because of the near-constant rule changes coming from federal and various state policymakers.
There are specific quarantine and isolation rules depending on circumstance, and most-recently, Dr. Anthony Fauci added that a new wrinkle could become standard: Shorter isolation time for healthcare workers after they test positive.
What happens if I test positive for COVID-19?
A 10-day isolation period begins from the time symptoms began. The 10-day clock doesn’t start to tick when the positive test is administered, unless you’re asymptomatic.
There was a time when federal and state health officials said that those who tested positive, but were vaccinated were less likely to spread the virus. However, those rules have largely been tossed with the rise of Delta and Omicron.
What if I’m exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19?
“I think if you look at the CDC’s definition, it’s you know a 15 minute exposure within six feet over the last 24 hours,” Dr. Philip Falcone of St. Joseph’s Health told CNYCentral.com. He serves as Chief Medical Officer there. “I would actually think that with the new variants that we’re seeing that are significantly more transmissible, I think it might even be a shorter amount of time. So if you’re in close-contact with for you know even 10, 15 minutes with someone who has been diagnosed, as positive for COVID you should consider yourself exposed and you should probably get tested.”
But what does that mean about quarantine? Health departments are providing guidance on this front, and in many cases, giving case-by-case advice based on individual experience.
Health experts like Dr. Falcone say getting vaccinated is the most-important step in protecting oneself against Omicron.