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DHEC Updates COVID-19 Isolation and Quarantine Guidance Following CDC Announcement

By December 30, 2021No Comments

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is updating its isolation and quarantine guidance to reflect certain aspects of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) updated federal guidance issued earlier this week.

Below are key points of DHEC’s current recommendations:

If You Tested Positive (Isolation):
If you test positive for COVID-19, you need to isolate regardless of your vaccination status:

  • Stay home and avoid in-person contact with others for at least 5 days
  • If you have no symptoms after Day 5, you can end isolation but must wear a mask around others for 5 more days

If You Were Exposed to Someone with COVID-19 (Quarantine):

  • If you have received the vaccine doses you’re eligible for (completed initial vaccination series and booster for ages 16 and up, or completed initial vaccination series for ages 5-15), you don’t have to quarantine. DHEC recommends you get tested on Day 5 and wear a mask around others for 10 days.
  • Individuals are eligible for a booster six months after completing their Pfizer or Moderna vaccination series, or two months after their single-dose of Janssen.
  • If you are not vaccinated or you have completed your primary vaccination series and are booster eligible, but haven’t gotten a booster, you need to quarantine for 5 days. We recommend you get tested on Day 5 and wear a mask around others for 5 more days.
  • If you develop symptoms, stay home and get tested
  • There are contingency options specifically for workers in health care facilities when there are staffing shortages. Exposed workers who have not received the vaccine, including a booster when eligible may wear a mask for 10 days if quarantine is not feasible with maintaining patient care, so long as they test negative and have no symptoms. This should be a last resort option, however, when staffing is not available any other way.

Test to Stay (TTS)
DHEC supports the CDC’s test to stay guidance for K-12 schools, though DHEC has concerns about the availability of rapid test kits, staff capacity to administer tests, and equity among districts. DHEC will work with schools to make rapid testing for TTS as available as possible.

Fully Vaccinated Term 
At this time, for the purpose of DHEC guidance, DHEC considers people who have completed their primary series, and ideally have had a booster shot if eligible, to be fully vaccinated.

** These updates are subject to change based on rapidly evolving information. **