EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has shortened the amount of time Americans need to isolate or quarantine if you have COVID-19.

Changing the length of time from 10 days to five. If you test positive your five isolation starts the day you get your results and if you are exposed to someone with COVID-19 your quarantine starts the day you learn you were exposed.

The news of the change in the recommendation comes as we’re seeing an increase in cases, especially the Omicron Variant.

El Pasoans waited an hour and a half to get tested for COVID-19 on Monday on the Westside. One El Pasoan told KTSM 9 News three people she recently saw were exposed to COVID-19.

“I was a little bit concerned because I wasn’t getting any symptoms but last night I started with a little cough and even if I didn’t have any symptoms I would have came to get tested because three people is too many,” said Cristina Tavera.

Tavera said she was relieved to hear the CDC’s shortened five-day recommendation.

“14 days would have been a lot of days to not work and to just stay home doing nothing, so five days is very good news,” said Cristina Tavera.

Another El Pasoan came with his mother and two siblings to get tested.

“We came to test because one of our family members got infected and we just wanted to make sure that we weren’t infected as well,” said El Pasoan Javier Godinez. 

Godinez has a different opinion than Tavera on the CDC’s new five-day recommendation.

“I think it should be extended back to 10 days or at least 12 because COVID is getting a lot worse right now with the new variant than it was before so I think we should be quarantined longer than that,” said Godinez.

Dr. Anthony Fauci the Chief Medical Advisor to the President of United States said during an interview with NBC News explained that the revised recommendation will get people back to work sooner.

 “You get people out there much sooner and by much I mean by cutting it in half saying that 5 days of isolation then come out and wear a mask for the rest of the time so if you can keep people safe from getting infected if you are still infected,” said Fauci.

Fauci also commented on the safety of cutting isolation time in half.

“If you look at the chance of getting a transmission in the second half of that 10 day period it’s considerably less than in those first few days,” said Fauci.

The CDC Director Rochelle Walensky told the Associated Press on Monday that the country is going to see a lot more omicron cases, but says not all will be severe. 

“Not all of those cases are going to be severe. In fact many are going to be asymptomatic,” Walensky told the Associated Press. “We want to make sure there is a mechanism by which we can safely continue to keep society functioning while following the science. 

On Monday 302 new COVID-19 cases were reported in El Paso, with 7,202 active cases. The Department of Public Health reported over the past week 1,879 new COVID-19 cases in El Paso and 63 deaths. 

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