Nebraskans, businesses concerned by new CDC isolation guidance

WOWT 6 News Live at 10
Published: Dec. 28, 2021 at 9:38 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - As COVID-19 cases continue to rise both locally and in the country, many were surprised by the changes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made for those who are isolating after testing positive.

For months, guidance has called for a 10-day quarantine, but as of Monday, that’s not the case for everyone.

“The biggest change on this is if somebody is diagnosed with having COVID-19, they should stay at home for five days and isolate themselves, and if they feel better at the end of those five days, they’ve stopped running a fever, their symptoms are clearly improving, they’re then able to exit isolation,” says Dr. Mark Rupp, Chief of Nebraska Medicine’s Infectious Disease department.

After those five days, the CDC strongly suggests you mask up for the next five days.

“Just really the information, it just continues to change. In some ways, I do believe we need to change with it and trust what they’re telling us but I’m not sure,” says Brenna Moray.

Moray’s teenage daughter started showing symptoms on Sunday, and tested positive on Monday despite her and her family being fully vaccinated.

Moray says since they all live in the same home, it feels inevitable that she and the rest of her family will test positive too.

News of the isolation adjustment made her think twice.

“I do have some concerns about is 100% science based? Is it business and commerce based? I think this five day thing started with the medical profession, and I know that people need to be at work, I so get that, but, I was very surprised and confused.”

Moray says she trusts what her doctors tell her, but that she would feel even more comfortable about the shorter quarantine if testing was more readily available.

But Dr. Rupp says the change is meant to portray that people are most contagious with in the first few days of contracting the new strain, hence the five day isolation.

“This is an incredibly transmissible, contagious virus,” Rupp adds.

But, he says, there are other reasons, too.

“Again I’m waiting to see some of that data to support these recommendations but having said that, they need to have recommendations that are based in science and also that people are able to follow, and I think they’ve seen that longer periods of isolation at the end of that time period where people are to as infectious, folks are just simply ignoring that advice,” he says.

“Clearly this is a little bit difficult to reconcile with the actual explosive transmission of omicron throughout many parts of the country and I think a lot of people are having difficulty trying to understand right at this time when we’re seeing this spread so widely, why would we then decrease our period of time when we’re under isolation,” Rupp says.

Nebraska’s Restaurant Association as well as the Nebraska AFL-CIO chapter tell 6 News they’re still looking into the new guidance and reaching out to their partners to figure out what to do. Both say that there are many different opinions on what should be done.

But right now, they simply aren’t sure yet what they will do.

And for Moray, even if her daughter was asymptomatic, she doesn’t know what she would do, either.

“I don’t know that I would send her right out after a positive test, I don’t know how confident I would feel, this is so new.”

She tells 6 News she just hopes the community will continue to do what is right and safe for those around them.

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