The CDC on December 27, 2021, in response to the high prevalence of the Omicron variant in the US, reduced isolation periods to 5 days once symptoms have resolved based on new evidence showing that these persons are no longer infectious.
Research has shown that persons are infectious 1-2 days prior to onset of symptoms and 2-3 days after onset of symptoms.
The new CDC recommendation is that for the remaining 5 days persons should always wear a well-fitted mask when around others.
“We will be reviewing these updated guidelines in the next few days and giving updated guidance as required,” Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronald E. Georges noted in a statement on December 28, 2021.
Dr Georges reminded that should someone test positive for COVID-19 their period of isolation under a Quarantine Order will be for 10 days and their symptoms must also have resolved for at least 24 hours before they end isolation.
“After this period, you are no longer infectious but may still test positive for COVID by PCR test for a period of up to 90 days. Re-testing for clearance is therefore neither recommended nor necessary. You will therefore instead receive a clinical recovery letter from the Ministry of Health indicating that you have completed the required period of isolation,” Dr Georges said.
The Acting CMO explained that isolation under a Quarantine Order means that after someone is confirmed to be positive for COVID they should stay at home and always wear a mask when in the presence of others for a minimum period of 10 days.
At the time of completion of their isolation their rapid antigen test should be negative but their PCR test can remain positive for up to 90 days.
Dr Georges also stated that all household or travel companion contacts of cases in the Virgin Islands should at this time be quarantined and be tested at least 10 days after their last exposure or 7 days if they are not quarantining with the case in the same location.
“In the Virgin Islands, we are currently requiring persons with unprotected contact of confirmed cases to self-isolate and wear a well-fitted mask when around others for a period of 14 days,” he stated.