Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidance for people who are vaccinated against COVID-19 and have been exposed to someone known or suspected to be infected with the virus.
The CDC now says vaccinated people should seek out a COVID-19 test three to five days after being exposed to a person who may have contracted the virus.
In addition, any vaccinated person who has been exposed should wear a mask in indoor public settings for two weeks or until they receive a negative COVID-19 test result.
The CDC says anyone experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, should isolate themselves and seek out a test.
The new guidelines replace CDC direction released in May that said fully-vaccinated did not need to seek out a test if exposed to a person with COVID-19.
The new guidance was released on Wednesday, the same day that the CDC said that vaccinated people in areas where the spread of the virus is widespread should resume wearing masks in indoor public spaces.
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said that recent studies have shown that vaccinated people are able to spread the delta variant — the most contagious strain of the virus yet.
“In recent days, I have seen new scientific data from recent outbreak investigations showing that the delta variant behaves uniquely differently from past strains of the virus that cause COVID-19,” Walensky said. “Information on the delta variant from several states and countries indicates that in rare occasions, some vaccinated people infected with the delta variant after vaccination may be contagious and spread the virus to others. This new science is worrisome and unfortunately warrants an update to our recommendations.”
Despite the dangers of the delta variant, health experts confirm that all COVID-19 vaccines still have a high degree of protection against the delta variant and offer even stronger protection against severe diseases and death.
The vast majority of people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 are those who have not been vaccinated.