Michigan health department reverses course, updates to CDC COVID-19 quarantine guidelines

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Detroit Free Press
Dec. 31, 2021
Frank Witsil

Just two days after saying it was not adopting shorter federal COVID-19 isolation and quarantine guidelines, the Michigan health department announced that it now plans to update them.

The state health department said Friday it is updating its state guidance “to reflect the recent recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

“Notably,” the announcement said, “the CDC recommends a shortening of the quarantine and isolation duration for those who aren’t vaccinated or haven’t received their booster to five days followed by an additional five days of wearing a well-fitting mask around others.”

Earlier this week, the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services said it needed more time to review the “the supporting evidence” before making changes to its guidelines.

The Free Press left a message with a health department seeking further comment.

As new virus variants emerge and a multitude of agencies — local, county, state and federal, as well as private employers — offer their own recommendations and requirements, it’s easy to see why some Michiganders might be confused and frustrated.

Michigan broke a pandemic record Wednesday for new daily cases. State health officials reported a two-day total of 25,858 confirmed cases — an average of 12,929 per day.

Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, the health department’s chief medical executive, said Friday that vaccinations are “the best protection against severe illness and hospitalization,” and urged all Michiganders who are 5 and older to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Bagdasarian also said the most recent updates to the quarantine and isolation guidelines are “a reflection on our progress as we learn more about COVID,” but “we are not in the clear as variants like omicron continue to create new challenges.”

Health officials said state data shows those who are unvaccinated have 4.3 times the risk of testing positive for COVID-19 and 12.2 times the risk of dying from COVID-19 compared to people who are fully vaccinated.

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