El Paso Health Authority challenges CDC COVID-19 isolation, quarantine stance


EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) Dr. Hector Ocaranza, El Paso’s City and County Health Authority says El Pasoans should continue to isolate and quarantine for 10 days if they test positive for COVID-19, despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new 5-day recommendation.

On Monday the CDC shortened the recommended time for COVID-19 isolation and quarantine from 10 days to 5 days.

Dr. Ocaranza sent the following statement on Tuesday.

The CDC has not expanded on its new recommendations for the Isolation and Quarantine guidelines, and we need to look carefully at how we can implement and adapt these new recommendations to our community considering all factors, positive and negative; particularly our community’s vulnerability and other variables that could have immediate local effects.

The CDC’s recommendations are a guideline, but most importantly, we must look at what is happening at the local level and, again, how it might impact our immediate community. The number of new cases, our hospitalization numbers, and the increasing number of COVID-19 deaths continues to climb, and I expect this to get worse over the next several weeks as we begin to see the impact of the holiday travel and gatherings.

For this reason, I am recommending the community continue following the CDC’s previous 10-day isolation and quarantine guidelines.

I must also stress the recommendation to wear a face cover. It is especially imperative that an exposed person wear a well-fitting mask at all times when around others.

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. 

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