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COVID-19: Finger Lakes health department leaders give update on isolation, quarantine guidelines

Editor’s Note: Tuesday at 9 a.m. on the Inside the FLX podcast, Ted Baker will talk with health officials from four counties about their experiences during the pandemic.


Knowing the guidelines is important, especially for those at higher risk of hospitalization or death from COVID.

The Omicron variant  is driving COVID-19 transmissions across the Finger Lakes, Central New York, and Southern Tier. There has been confusion over quarantine and isolation guidelines over the last few weeks.

Now, county health directors in the region are clarifying the current guidelines. They also are letting residents know how to get quarantine and isolation order documents online.


The current New York state guidelines are as followed:

Isolation – for people who are sick or have a positive COVID-19 test

  • Isolate for five days following the first day of symptoms. If asymptomatic – isolate for five days following the day of collection of the first positive test.
  • Isolating means staying in a separate room from other household members, using a separate bathroom, taking steps to improve ventilation at home, and avoiding contact with other members of the household and pets.
  • If asymptomatic at the end of five days or if symptoms are resolving, isolation ends and the individual must wear a well-fitting mask while around others for an additional five days.

Quarantine – for people in close contact with someone who has COVID

  • If not fully vaccinated, or fully vaccinated and eligible for a booster but not yet boosted, quarantine for five days and wear a well-fitting mask while around others for an additional five days.
  • If fully vaccinated and boosted (with the booster at least two weeks before the first date of exposure) or not yet eligible for a booster, no quarantine is required but individuals must wear a well-fitting mask while around others for 10 days after the last date of exposure.
  • Quarantine is not required for those people ages 12 or older who have received all recommended vaccine doses, including boosters and additional primary shots for some immunocompromised people, or for 5- to 11-year-olds who have completed the primary COVID-19 vaccine series.

New York State law guarantees job protection and paid leave for  employees who are unable to work while subject to a COVID-19 precautionary or mandatory order of quarantine. Residents who test positive for COVID-19 or who come in contact with others with COVID need to obtain public health directors’ orders for isolation and quarantine.

More information and documentation are available on the following county websites:


“There is some confusion about the most recent COVID-19 guidelines,” said Michele Foster, executive director, S2AY Rural Health Network. “It is important for everyone to know and to follow the guidelines, especially those at higher risk of hospitalization or death due to COVID, such as individuals with underlying conditions like hypertension and diabetes.”

Foster also suggests the best protection against COVID-19 is for residents to get vaccinated and boosted.

For more information, please visit the Finger Lakes COVID-19 Vaccine Hub.

Finger Lakes Partners (Billboard)

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