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5 things dentists should know about CDC's updated COVID-19 guidelines

The CDC updated its isolation and quarantine guidance for healthcare workers Dec. 23.

Five things dentists need to know:

1. The new guidelines state that asymptomatic workers with COVID-19 can return to work after seven days with a negative test, instead of 10, and that isolation time can be further reduced to relieve staffing shortages. Healthcare workers with all recommended vaccine doses do not need to quarantine at home after high-risk exposures.

2. The CDC also updated its definition of a high-risk exposure to include use of a face mask, instead of a respirator, by healthcare personnel if the infected patient is not also wearing a face mask or cloth mask.

3. The CDC said the changes were made to alleviate staffing shortages and are supported by evidence showing that the majority of transmission happens in the course of illness. 

4. ‚Äč‚ÄčNational Nurses United sent a letter to the CDC Dec. 22 asking the agency to maintain its previous guidance. It also argued that not requiring fully vaccinated and boosted healthcare workers to quarantine after high-risk exposure ignores basic infection control practices.

5. The CDC stated that further updates may come as more information becomes available about booster doses, including their effectiveness against variants and the duration of protection. 

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