CDC says vaccinated people without symptoms should be tested after exposure
In addition to revising its mask guidance on Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also quietly updated its testing recommendations for people who have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.
The agency now recommends that vaccinated people be tested for the virus if they come into contact with someone with COVID-19, even if they have no symptoms. Earlier, the health agency had said that fully vaccinated people do not need to be tested after being exposed to the virus, unless they are experiencing symptoms.
“Our updated guidance recommends that vaccinated people be tested at risk regardless of symptoms,” agency director Dr. Rochelle P. Valensky said in an email to The New York Times. “The test is widely available.”
The agency said fully vaccinated people should wear masks in public indoor places after exposure. Three to five days later, they should be tested for the virus.
If the results come back negative, they can stop wearing masks indoors. If the result is positive, then the infected should be isolated at home for 10 days.
The new recommendation came on the same day the agency recommended that fully vaccinated people return indoors wearing masks under certain circumstances. When community transmission levels are high, everyone, regardless of vaccination status, should wear a mask indoors when in public, the agency now says.
The agency also recommended that people in close contact with non-vaccinated people, including children under the age of 12, consider wearing masks in public indoor spaces, whatever the transmission rate in the local community. In one shift, the agency also recommended universal masking in schools.
For months, the CDC had resisted the recommendation of masks for vaccinated people, even as the highly contagious delta variant spread and the World Health Organization recommended continued mask-wearing.
Dr. Valensky said at a news briefing on Tuesday that the change was prompted by new data suggesting that people infected with Delta may also be carrying large amounts of the virus and passing it on to others.
Vaccines offer strong protection against the worst outcomes, however, including serious illness, hospitalization, and death.
Apoorva Mandavilli contributed reporting.
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