RICHMOND – “It is time to review some of our practices for groups at low risk of severe COVID-19 illness, especially those whose side effect is a significant limitation in access to daycare, school or at work,” the Virginia state health commissioner said. Colin M. Greene in a statement to the public on June 16.
Effective immediately, the Virginia Department of Health has updated its website and revised its quarantine guidelines for COVID-19, in some cases significantly.
These changes reflect COVID’s progression from an acute pandemic to a more endemic state, Greene said.
To explain the changes, the commissioner provided data on adult and child immunity rates.
COVID-19 immunity rate
- Evidence from the Centers for Disease Control suggests that well over 75% of children have post-infection immunity to COVID-19, in addition to any vaccine-derived protection.
- Immunity rates in adults between vaccination and post-infection probably exceed 90%.
- There is evidence that post-infection immunity can be effective for six months or more.
As a result, quarantine and isolation guidelines now reflect these immunity rates.
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COVID-19 Quarantine Guide
No more quarantine for risk-free situations:
- If a person is exposed to COVID-19, but has tested positive and has recovered from COVID-19 within the past six months, or is up to date on vaccines, or both, that person will no longer be recommended to quarantine.
Instead, that person should monitor for symptoms and follow isolation protocols if they appear. This varies slightly from the CDC guidelines, which define the period of post-infection immunity at 90 days.
“This change will apply to the general public, including but not limited to settings such as K-12 schools and early childhood education settings,” Greene said.
Quarantine remains for high-risk situations:
“Out of an abundance of caution, we will retain the 90-day standard for high-risk situations, including healthcare workers, staff and residents of long-term care facilities, correctional facilities and homeless shelters” , Greene said.
This change only affects quarantine recommendations for individuals and will not impact the state’s case surveillance/classification process for the purposes of reporting probable or confirmed cases to the CDC.
Recommendations for isolation with active disease or an asymptomatic positive test remain unchanged.
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