Covid Climate and Updated Guidelines


Ryan Macrae Delacruz, Staff Writer

On December 27, 2021, the CDC published updated guidelines to the quarantine period set for the general public. Originally, quarantine lasted two weeks, but with recent information of transmissions and the development of the COVID-19 booster, the period has been shortened to 5 days. Some may be exhilarated from the altered isolation period, but some may be concerned about how it may affect the population’s health and safety, especially within Junction City High School.

The CDC’s decision to decrease the quarantine length was based off the fact that most of the SARS-CoV-2 transmissions occur 1-2 days before showing symptoms and 2-3 days after. Methods of disease prevention differs between whether people have received their COVID booster or not. If exposed, unvaccinated and non-boosted people must quarantine for 5 days followed by using a face mask for another 5 days. People who received booster shots do not have to quarantine but must wear a face mask around others for 10 days after exposure. However, regardless of if they are boosted or not, if an individual develops symptoms, they must quarantine until they get a negative test result.

In the article published by the CDC, it says “CDC’s updated recommendations for isolation and quarantine balance what we know about the spread of the virus and the protection provided by vaccination and booster doses. These updates ensure people can safely continue their daily lives” (Dr. Walensky, CDC Director). Regarding the booster’s effectiveness, they published “Data from South Africa and the United Kingdom demonstrate that vaccine effectiveness against infection for two doses of an mRNA vaccine is approximately 35%. A COVID-19 vaccine booster dose restores vaccine effectiveness against infection to 75%.” (CDC).”

“I believe the CDC’s decision to reduce the quarantine period was based on good intentions and had to consider the mental health of students and teachers, supply chain and manufacturing issues, and the alleviation of staffing issues in healthcare facilities and other businesses. However, I do not think the timing was appropriate especially since the guidelines were issued when we were at peak with the Omicron variant. As a clinical laboratory scientist, I believe that with the shortened quarantine guidelines, we are setting the ground for an even more rapid transmission of the virus,” said Gear Community Hospital Lab Director Ruth Dela Cruz.

“Based on the COVID Tracker that I have devised, the first two weeks of January was horrendous… Students and teachers had to return to school or work after five days of quarantine, but that does not mean that they were fully recovered from the infection. Some who returned to school were still symptomatic, hence contagious, spreading the virus unconsciously to their fellow classmates or colleagues at school…This can create anxiety amongst students because now they assume that a person who they meet at the hallway and coughs have COVID and come home all paranoid,” Dela Cruz added.