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On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced an update to its quarantine guidelines. The reasoning behind this change is that an estimated 95% of Americans age 16 or older have developed antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, whether due to vaccinations or previous infection.
Previously, the CDC recommended that those who are not current on their COVID-19 vaccinations should quarantine for five days following close contact with someone who tests positive. Now, individuals who are not up-to-date on vaccines can forgo quarantining, the same as those who are fully vaccinated.
Regardless of vaccination status, the recommendation for an individual who is exposed to COVID-19 is to wear a high-quality mask in public and indoors for 10 days after contact and to get tested after five days even if showing no symptoms. If the test is negative, the guidance is to keep masking and take extra precautions for the full 10 days.
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Those who test positive for COVID-19 should begin isolation from others immediately, but the length of isolation has been shortened from 10 days to five. If no symptoms are present, an individual may end isolation after five days. If symptomatic, it’s recommended to end isolation after five days only after being fever-free for 24 hours and symptoms are improving. If symptoms continue after five days, isolation should continue for up to 10 days.
Masks should be worn for the full 10 days regardless of isolation. However, an individual who receives two sequential negative tests that are spaced 48 hours apart may remove their mask sooner. In addition to tests administered by healthcare workers, there are at-home tests available. The CDC notes that while a positive result from these tests is highly accurate, a negative result is less reliable, especially if you have symptoms indicative of COVID-19.
Where to buy COVID-19 tests in-store and online
Before you order a COVID-19 test online or pick one up in stores, know that U.S. households are eligible to receive free at-home tests through the USPS website. Each order includes 8 rapid antigen COVID-19 tests. Additionally, if you do end up purchasing tests in-store or online, insurance providers are federally required to reimburse up to $12 per test. You can buy directly through your insurer or submit receipts for reimbursement. Here's where to get COVID-19 tests in-store and online:
Where to buy real N95 and KN95 masks
When it comes to masking, experts recommend that those who do wear masks upgrade to N95 or KN95 masks, which can filter up to 95% of particles in the air. This recommendation comes after experts discovered cloth masks aren't as effective in protecting against the more contagious variants of COVID-19 such as BA.5.
Finding a reliable, high-quality mask (and one that's real) can be a challenge as the CDC estimates that about 60% of KN95 respirators in the U.S. are counterfeit and these fake masks fail to meet the safety standards of the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). When it comes to the health of you and your loved ones, only the real deal will do. That's why we've rounded up legitimate N95 and KN95 masks to help you safely navigate the world of COVID-19.
Project N95 is a non-profit organization that helps to make PPE—like high-filtration masks—accessible to those who need it. The company goes through comprehensive vetting processes to ensure the distribution of legitimate PPE.
Bona Fide Masks
This brand was formed by the long-standing Ball Chain Manufacturing Company, the world's larger manufacturer of ball chain used to crate dog tags and chains for blinds. In 2020, the manufacturing company created Bona Fide Masks in response to the shortage of PPE in 2020. We ordered Powecom KN95 masks from Bona Fide Masks ourselves and received what we believe to be authentic KN95s.
If you're looking to purchase a KN95 from WellBefore, Reviewed's health and fitness writer Esther Bell recommends opting for the WellBefore KN95 with adjustable straps to ensure the right fit as the mask without straps may be too large for some faces.
The Home Depot
Additional reporting by Amanda Tarlton, Felicity Warner, Esther Bell
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This article originally appeared on Reviewed: CDC COVID-19 quarantine guidelines: Masks, at-home tests to buy