Long Beach is changing its COVID-19 quarantine rules; here’s what you need to know

The city’s health department announced yesterday that it is changing its COVID-19 requirements about how long a person who is infected or exposed to the virus should quarantine and wear a mask.

These changes align with Los Angeles County’s new COVID-19 requirements that are based on recent new recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and the California Department of Public Health. In Long Beach, these requirements will go into effect on Jan. 3.

Here are the new guidelines from the Long Beach Health Department:

If you test positive:

You must isolate yourself at home for at least five days, regardless of your vaccination status, if you’ve been sick or aren’t showing any symptoms. People may only end their five-day isolation if they are asymptomatic or fever-free and notice a significant improvement in their symptoms in addition to receiving a negative COVID-19 test result on or after day five. People who don’t test or can’t test can end their quarantine after 10 days if showing no symptoms.

Even after your isolation ends, you may have to wear a mask. People who test positive are required to wear a mask for 10 days total when around other people when both indoors and outside. The city recommends the use of a medical-grade mask like a surgical mask or an N95. Children should wear a well-fitting, surgical-style mask with a nose wire, instead of a less effective cloth mask.

If you’ve been exposed but are vaccinated and boosted:

You don’t need to quarantine, though you should get tested immediately. If that test is negative, you should test again on the fifth day after the last contact with the person who had the virus. If you develop symptoms, you should get tested as soon as possible.

The new guidelines also require people who have been exposed to wear a mask when indoors and outside while around other people for 10 days.

If you’ve been exposed and haven’t received a booster or are only partially vaccinated or not vaccinated at all:

Stay at home for at least five days and take a test as soon as possible. If it comes back negative, stay quarantined and test again on the fifth day since you were exposed. If you test positive, isolate at home as described above. If you start noticing symptoms, also stay home and get tested as soon as possible.

If you don’t show any symptoms and come back with a negative test by day five, you can end your quarantine. If you don’t take a test and are asymptomatic, quarantine may end by day 10. Everyone in this situation must wear a mask when indoors and out for a total of 10 days when around other people.

The city’s health department strongly recommends that people get vaccinated and receive a booster shot, especially in light of the omicron variant, which is on the rise in the city. The average daily number of cases is up from 44 cases on Dec. 1 to 587 on Dec. 29, which is a 1,234% increase, according to the city.

“These are some of the highest daily numbers Long Beach has seen since mid-January 2021,” the health department said in a release.

While hospitalization rates have not spiked as significantly, they have increased from 51 on Dec. 20 to 129 on Dec. 28, according to the health department. The good news is that hospitalizations are well below the winter surge seen at the beginning of last year. Of those hospitalized, the city said 71% are unvaccinated. To learn more about getting vaccinated, click here.

Here are the new CDC recommendations for those infected by COVID-19 and close contacts

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Cheantay Jensen is reporter and award-winning videographer who covers entertainment, art, food and culture for the Hi-lo section of the Long Beach Post. And sometimes breaking news, you know, just to keep things interesting.