Atlanta

‘It’s a different COVID world’: DPH director welcomes new COVID-19 guidelines from CDC

ATLANTA — Georgia’s top doctor is welcoming the new, more relaxed Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for people with direct exposure to COVID-19, saying they better reflect the way people are living their lives in 2022 as opposed to the start of the pandemic two and a half years ago.

“I think it’s a reflection of the fact that many of us are vaccinated,” said Georgia Department of Public Health Director Dr. Kathleen Toomey. “Many of us who are not vaccinated have had COVID-19, so there’s a baseline level of immunity that we certainly didn’t have two and a half years ago.”

The new guidelines from the Atlanta-based CDC loosen recommendations for people with direct exposure to the virus. It no longer recommends immediate quarantine.

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It now recommends simply wearing a mask for 10 days and testing five days after the exposure. It also relaxes the 6-foot social distancing rules.

And it recommends students who are directly exposed no longer need to either quarantine or submit to regular testing, called “test to stay” by some parents.

“I’m very pleased that kids won’t be held out of school for quarantine,” Toomey said. “They’ve done away with ‘test to stay.’”

Toomey also points to the fact that more vaccines and boosters are on their way to Georgia, and that more antiviral drugs are available to treat those who do come down with the virus.

“It’s a different COVID world for us now than it was at the beginning,” Toomey said.

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