CDC Loosens COVID-19 Guidance

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday relaxed many of the guidelines for COVID-19 in communities, a major shift that emphasizes living with the virus rather than strict prevention of infection. The new guidance puts the onus on individuals to assess their own personal risk levels, rather than businesses, governments or schools.

The new guidelines no longer recommend case investigation and contact tracing, except in health care settings and certain high-risk congregate settings. The new guidance also treats a COVID-19 exposure in the same way regardless of whether the person exposed is vaccinated. Under the new guidelines, there is no quarantine recommendation.

The agency no longer recommends physical distancing, and instead asks individuals to consider the risk in specific settings.

CDC will also no longer recommend screening testing of asymptomatic people without known exposures, except in certain high-risk settings like nursing homes and prisons.

“Screening testing might not be cost-effective in general community settings, especially if COVID-19 prevalence is low,” CDC wrote.

In schools, CDC removed the recommendation that kids avoid mingling with other classrooms, a practice known as cohorting.

It also removed a recommendation on “test-to-stay,” which was aimed at keeping children who were exposed to COVID-19 in the classroom as long as they had no symptoms and repeatedly tested negative.