Updated July 20th by the CDC

Interim CDC Guidelines for Discontinuation of Isolation for Persons with COVID-19 Not in Healthcare Settings

Effective July 20th the CDC advises that a test-based strategy is no longer recommended to determine when to discontinue home isolation, except in certain circumstances.

Accumulating evidence supports ending isolation and precautions for persons with COVID-19 using a symptom-based strategy. Specifically, researchers have reported that people with mild to moderate COVID-19 remain infectious no longer than 10 days after their symptoms began, and those with more severe illness or those who are severely immunocompromised remain infectious no longer than 20 days after their symptoms began. Therefore, CDC has updated the recommendations for discontinuing home isolation as follows:

Persons with COVID-19 who have symptoms and were directed to care for themselves at home may discontinue isolation under the following conditions:

  • At least 10* days have passed since symptom onset and
  • At least 24 hours have passed since resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
  • Other symptoms have improved

*A limited number of persons with severe illness may produce replication-competent virus beyond 10 days, that may warrant extending duration of isolation for up to 20 days after symptom onset. Consider consultation with infection control experts. See Discontinuation of Transmission-Based Precautions and Disposition of Patients with COVID-19 in Healthcare Settings (Interim Guidance): https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/disposition-hospitalized-patients.html

For persons who never develop symptoms, isolation and other precautions can be discontinued 10 days after the date of their first positive RT-PCR test for SARS-CoV2 RNA.

A summary of current evidence and rationale for these changes is described in the Duration of Isolation and Precautions for Adults with COVID-19. Click here to view summary.

The role of testing for discontinuing isolation or precautions:

The test-based strategy requires negative results using RT-PCR for SARS CoV-2 RNA under an FDA Emergency Use authorization (EUA) for COVID-19 from at least two consecutive respiratory specimens collected at least 24 hours apart. All test results should be final before isolation is ended.

Employers should follow CDC guidelines to comply with OSHA standards for providing a safe workplace.


Check out our COVID-19 Resource Center for more resources and information.