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MADISON – The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has endorsed new U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) standards that call for people to continue wearing masks in public even after being vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.
In modifying earlier guidelines, the CDC this week stated that people who have been vaccinated are no longer required to quarantine following close contact with someone with COVID-19.
However, even after being vaccinated, everyone should continue to follow current CDC guidelines for preventing the spread of coronavirus. That includes wearing a mask in public, avoiding large gatherings, staying 6 feet away from others, and following all other applicable workplace or school guidance.
The quarantine requirement is dropped for those who have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, were exposed to a COVID-19 case within 90 days of being vaccinated, and have remained asymptomatic since being exposed to someone with COVID-19.
The DHS also cautioned that patients receiving inpatient care in a health care facility and residents of long-term care facilities should continue to follow a 14-day quarantine if exposed to someone who has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. This is because of the “higher risk of severe illness and death among patients in these settings,” according to a DHS health alert issued Monday.
“While we have strong data from clinical trials showing that both currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines are highly efficacious for preventing symptomatic illness from COVID-19, there is still much to learn about the vaccines’ duration of protection, and the degree of protection against asymptomatic infection and viral transmission, Dr. Ryan Westergard, Wisconsin state epidemiologist, said in a statement.
Last week, approximately 10 percent of Wisconsin residents had received at least one of the doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.