The CDC decision to cut isolation times in half for many people who have caught Covid-19 took local public health agencies by surprise and left some struggling to explain to their communities exactly what the changes meant and why federal officials had made them. Gaps in communication between federal, state and local officials have left some public health leaders fearing that they’ve lost trust with those they serve amid public confusion.
First, the CDC shortened its recommendations for isolation time for Covid-positive health workers to seven days after a negative test on Dec. 23. It said health workers who had received booster shots did not need to quarantine after exposures.
Federal officials have said they changed the guidelines over concerns that omicron’s rapid spread would shut down essential services and also because they believe the majority of viral transmission takes place early in infection.CDC updates are straining already-pressed public health departments