New COVID quarantine rules were just released by the CDC. And boy have the rules changed since the peak of the pandemic.

As I'm sure you've realized, it's been four years since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. The whole world changed in March 2020 as COVID-19 began to spread rapidly across New York State.

Over the next few days, Hudson Valley Post is going to look back at the peak of the pandemic, including how drastically COVID quarantine guidelines have changed since 2020.

March 2020

Canva / IvelinRadkov
Canva / IvelinRadkov

In late March 2020, to try and prevent the spread of COVID, the White House extended all social distancing measures until through the end of April 2020.

Around that time, anyone who was exposed to COVID to quarantine for two weeks. People who tested positive were also told to stay home for two weeks.

November 2020

Around November, then New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced new guidelines allowing out-of-state travelers to New York to "test out" of the mandatory 14-day quarantine, including Empire State residents returning to New York from another state.

Young spanish man tries to eat wearing a mask while wearing a mask protecting to coronavirus COVID-19 due to hysteria and panic caused by media and governments a very contagious virus
Daniel Lozano Gonzalez

All were told to quarantine for three days after arriving in New York and then take a test. If negative, no isolation was needed.

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December 2020

In early December 2020, the CDC shortened the recommended time someone should spend in quarantine after being exposed to COVID-19 from 14 days to 10 days.

The CDC said someone without COVID-19 symptoms could end quarantine after 10 days without taking a test and after seven days with a negative COVID-19 test. However, the CDC still recommended the full 14-day quarantine, saying that was the safest option.

Safety Sign with COVID-19 protocols
Grace Rowan/ Townsquare Media Hudson Valley

While the CDC said the quarantine time could be 10 days the CDC left it up to local public health authorities to determine and establish quarantine options for their jurisdictions.

Late December 2020

In late December, the New York State Department of Health told local health departments they could shorten the quarantine to 10 days, as long as the person who was exposed to COVID-19 is not showing any COVID-19 symptoms.

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In late 2021, the CDC shortened the recommended time for isolation from 10 days for people with COVID-19 to 5 days, if asymptomatic, followed by 5 days of wearing a mask when around others.


Last month, Hudson Valley Post reported, the CDC was considering ending the mandatory 5-day isolation period from work and school after getting infected with COVID.

5-Day Isolation Period Ends


The CDC made it official on March 1, 2024, ending the need for Americans with COVID to isolate for five days.

The new guidelines state anyone with COVID can return to normal daily activities if they haven't had a fever for 24 hours without the help of medications, or if their symptoms have been improving.

The CDC does urge all who end their isolation to wear a mask for a few days and limit close contact with others.

The CDC's director says the goal is "to continue to protect those at risk for severe illness, while also reassuring folks that these recommendations are simple, clear, easy to understand and can be followed."

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