LANSING — The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is now following the CDC in reducing isolation time for those with COVID.
The isolation time is being changed from 10 days to five days for anyone who tests positive but isn’t showing symptoms. This means anyone who tests positive, but sees no symptoms or sees symptoms disappear after five days may return to the classroom as long as they wear a well-fitted mask for an additional five days.
The rules for those who were exposed have also loosened, advising people that they do not need to quarantine at home following an exposure if they had a confirmed COVID-19 case in the last 90 days or are up to date on their recommended COVID-19 vaccines.
The changes reflect the changing dynamic of the pandemic as doctors and scientists learn and understand more about the omicron variant and the threat it poses.
While omicron infections aren’t showing as having as severe outcomes, the spread of the strain is creating a capacity problem for hospitals, with nearly 5,000 hospitalized as of Jan. 10 with COVID-19.
The MDHHS said that when complete vaccination, proper mask wearing, appropriate distancing, quick testing and responsive isolating are followed, schools should be able to maintain a normal class schedule.
“We always advocate for preventative measures that keep our children safe,” Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, MDHHS chief medical executive, said. “Children of school age — ages 5 and up — are now eligible to get vaccinated and children ages 12 and up are eligible to get boosted. In addition to masking and testing, we feel confident that schools can remain as safe as possible for our children.”
The MDHHS also specified if you’re isolating, it’s because you’ve already been infected with COVID-19 and have tested positive, even if you do not have symptoms. If you’re quarantining, you may have been exposed to COVID-19 and could be contagious.
These recommendations are regardless of vaccination status.