This CDC Quiz Will Tell You How Long To Quarantine From COVID-19

We may be entering the third year of the Covid-19 pandemic, but there is still a lot of confusion surrounding correct isolation and quarantine protocols in the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been partly blamed for this, given that they were behind the framing of these guidelines in the first place. The CDC's previous guidelines received widespread criticism as it was found to be loaded with a lot of fine print that did not make sense to the average Joe.

To make amends, the CDC has finally come up with a simple online tool that provides clear, concise, and accurate directions on what to do if you think you have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus — or have tested positive for the virus. 

The tool — which is presented in the form of an online quiz — is also designed to let people with mild Covid-19 symptoms, or no symptoms at all, know how long they need to stay home away from other people (isolate). The tool is also designed to help people in close contact with a family member infected by the virus. This is achieved by letting them know how long they must stay in home quarantine and by helping them with additional steps to get tested for the virus and instructions on how to use a mask.

How to use the Quarantine and Isolation Calculator by CDC

Before you learn how to use the Quarantine and Isolation Calculator, the CDC clarifies that you need to know a couple of important things in advance.

For example, people who think they have an asymptomatic case of Covid-19 will need to know when they were tested for the virus. Users who have already tested positive and had apparent symptoms will need to know when their Covid-19 symptoms appeared first. People who know they have been in close contact with someone with a confirmed case of Covid-19 will need to know when they made last contact with them.

The tool itself can be accessed by clicking the 'Get Started' button on this page, following which a pop-up screen should appear. The pop-up page will have two options that you will need to choose from:

  1. Tested positive for Covid-19 or have symptoms
  2. Had close contact with someone with Covid-19

Depending on the answer you choose, there will be different additional options that you will need to select from. For example, if you chose the first option (tested positive/ have symptoms), the tool will now ask you whether you have any symptoms. If you select you do not have any symptoms, the tool will proceed to ask you the date you tested positive. You can click the 'calendar' option and choose the date, and hit 'Submit.'

For this article, and as an example, I chose April 17 as the date, and the tool quickly let me know that I could leave home starting April 22, 2022. It also recommended that I wear a well-fitting mask at least until April 26. In case you thought you chose the wrong option, you can go back and simply restart the tool. There is a restart option if you scroll back to the top part of the pop-up page.

A quick look at the revamped quarantine and isolation calculator tool from CDC, and we are convinced about its usefulness. The tool will definitely make life easier for people who fear they have contracted the virus but are unsure about the next course of action. All things said, if you think you have been infected, it is imperative that you seek medical attention as well.