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Updated state guidance shortens COVID-19 isolation period 

masksMasking still required after leaving isolation

– Updates to COVID-19 guidance at the state level mean members of the general public with COVID-19 who feel well, have improving symptoms, and have been fever-free for 24 hours (without fever-reducing medicine) may leave isolation, followed by a period of strict masking around others for 10 days, according to a recent press release from the San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department. A negative antigen test is not needed to exit isolation. Previously, Californians were able to leave isolation after five days, followed by a period of strict masking for 10 days.

The change became effective Jan. 9, with a new state order. It does not apply in health care settings, which are still covered by AFL 21-08.9. For other higher-risk settings such as congregate living facilities, the public health department continues to provide local guidance.

“The most important thing to remember is to stay home if you are sick―that’s been true throughout the pandemic and remains true with this change,” said County Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein, “If you are feeling much better and no longer have a fever, you can end your isolation while being vigilant to mask around others. That means avoiding situations where you might take off your mask, like eating at a restaurant. Please be honest with yourself about your symptoms and take care to protect yourself and others.”

COVID-19 vaccines, at-home tests, high-quality masks and at-home treatment remain widely available at low or no cost statewide and in SLO County.

See the full announcement from the California Department of Public Health.

For updates on COVID-19 in SLO County, visit Public health phone assistance is available at (805) 781-5500 Monday – Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.


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