SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — New guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shorten the amount of time you have to isolate or quarantine from 10 to 5 days.

KELOLAND News spoke with an Avera doctor about the new changes. 

What doctors have learned over the last few months is people are most contagious two days before the first symptoms and three days after. 

Also, fully vaccinated people tend to be less infectious for a longer period of time. And so the new guidelines are being adjusted to fit the science.

“What that means from a health care systems standpoint is that we can get staff back to work faster and staffing is already an issue that we are dealing with on a daily basis throughout the health care system,” Dr. Chad Thury said.   

Thury says other industries might be able to pull back a bit during a COVID-19 outbreak and keep people home. They can’t do that in health care.

“As medical professionals we continue to have to deal with not only Covid, but all of the other things that people have on a regular basis so it is still dealing with strokes and heart attacks and can cancer treatments and all of the screening things we do in primary care just to keep people going and keep people healthy,” Thury said. 

The new guidelines give health care facilities the flexibility to bring people back sooner if they are symptom free. Before health care workers can return they have to test negative for the virus and be symptoms free. 

So obviously if they are still not feeling well and Day 5 rolls around they will not come back to work.

Thury says because health care workers strictly follow safety guidelines at work, like wearing masks and washing hands, very few health care workers get sick at work. 

“What we’ve noticed within our health care and in talking with employee health by and large most of the exposures and employees that get Covid are getting that outside of the health care facility in other general interactions within the community,” Thury said.

The CDC also recommends people who are infected with Covid, and end their isolation after five days, wear a mask for another five days when they are around other people.