Local health experts react to new Covid guidelines

The CDC has changed its Covid guidelines again.

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) — The CDC has changed its Covid guidelines again.

Dr. Jennifer Hoffman, Infectious Disease Physician with Piedmont Macon, says if you’re exposed to Covid-19, you no longer have to quarantine. Instead, you should wear a high-quality mask for ten days and get tested for Covid on day five.

There are, however, different guidelines if you test positive for Covid.

“Then they want you staying home for at least five days, and it can be longer depending on specific circumstances,” Dr. Hoffman said. “Then wearing a high-quality mask at least until day 10.”

Dr. Hoffman says that unfortunately it seems like we’ll be dealing with Covid indefinitely. She believes it’s something we have to learn to live with.

“Quarantine was very disruptive, for example, to school children who were missing 10 days several times a year, and that’s just not good educationally for kids,” she said. “It was bad for working parents who had to stay home with their kids, so it was a variety of practical concerns. Is it ideal from an infection control standpoint? I mean no. It’s not.”

North Central Health District Public Information Officer Michael Hokanson says Covid cases are on the rise in Middle Georgia, but the district believes the numbers are under-represented because of home Covid testing.

“Because the home test is such a popular option, people can go to any kind of pharmacy,” he said. “They can visit our local health department and get those home tests for free, but if they don’t follow that up with a confirmatory PCR test, that’s not a case that’s counted.”

Hokanson says the concern with the CDC relaxing Covid guidelines is people think they can go back to normal. He says that’s not the case and expects to see a higher level of transmission of the virus.

“We want people to still do that individual risk assessment,” he said. “To make those decisions on a person-to-person basis and just be aware that Covid is out there. It is very active right now, and we want people to stay safe.”

Dr. Hoffman continues to encourage people to get their Covid vaccines and boosters if they haven’t already.

“Vaccination is still very important, getting boosters is still very important,” she said. “It may not prevent you from getting Covid. In fact, it likely won’t prevent you from getting the current variants, but it should help make your case much less severe.”

The North Central Health District says it expects a different Covid vaccine formulation to come out in the fall.

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