Here's how long most Bay Area counties are recommending COVID-19 patients isolate before returning to work

Those who were hospitalized, or those with underlying conditions, should isolate for 20 days.

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Wednesday, August 5, 2020
How long should COVID-19 patients isolate before going back to work?
New CDC guidelines say those with coronavirus, who have mild to moderate symptoms, no longer need to isolate for a full two weeks.

SOLANO COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- Most Bay Area counties are now recommending a 10-day isolation for COVID-19 patients instead of a 14-day quarantine before they come back to work.

The CDC is recommending this and it is also being backed by doctors from UCSF and Stanford.

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"For the healthy individual, 10 days will be plenty and we just haven't seen the evidence for spread after that period of time," says Dr. Yvonne Maldonado with Stanford Health Care.

New CDC guidelines say those with coronavirus who have mild to moderate symptoms should isolate for 10 days from the start of symptoms or a positive test.

Those who were hospitalized, or those with underlying conditions, should isolate for 20 days.

"But it's not everyone and there are still other pieces that have to be met, but the 10-day rule is still going to work a lot better for some of our workers," says Dr. Ralph Gonzales of UCSF.

ABC7 News talked with a business owner in Benicia, who said, "10, 14, or 20 days. It's hard to make sense of anything right now."

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"I had nothing given to me as a business owner, I don't know, we're doing the best we can and the rules change week by week," says Dennis Cullen who owns Cullen's Tannery Pub.

In fact, multiple counties are recommending people don't get a second test before going back to work because dead COVID-19 virus cells can sometimes linger two to three months in patients, even if they've recovered.

"Some people do shed virus in our study up to two months, but whether or not that is infectious virus or not, that is unclear," according to Dr. Maldonado.

Doctors tell us the number of people who are still contagious after that ten or 20-day period is so small, they don't find it to be a major threat going forward.

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