HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — A few days after the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) released it’s updated COVID-19 guidelines, the Alabama Department of Public Health weighed in.

In an interview Tuesday with News 19, Chief Medical Officer for the Alabama Department of Public Health Dr. Karen Landers said, “This virus is going to be with us, it’s not going to go away.”

Dr. Landers said she is urging people to follow the new CDC guidelines, and keep up with protective measures.

The updated CDC guidance gives new guidelines for what to do if you’ve been exposed to COVID-19.

New CDC guidance for exposures:

  • Recommending that instead of quarantining if you were exposed to COVID-19, you wear a high-quality mask for 10 days and get tested on day 5.
  • Reiterating that regardless of vaccination status, you should isolate from others when you have COVID-19.
    • You should also isolate if you are sick and suspect that you have COVID-19 but do not yet have test results.
      • If your results are positive, follow CDC’s full isolation recommendations.
      • If your results are negative, you can end your isolation.
  • Recommending that if you test positive for COVID-19, you stay home for at least 5 days and isolate from others in your home.  You are likely most infectious during these first 5 days. Wear a high-quality mask when you must be around others at home and in public.
    • If after 5 days you are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of medication, and your symptoms are improving, or you never had symptoms, you may end isolation after day 5.
    • Regardless of when you end isolation, avoid being around people who are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19 until at least day 11.
    • You should wear a high-quality mask through day 10.

The new guidance suggests testing for COVID-19 five days after exposure. Dr. Landers explained, “What we have seen with these recent variants is that the incubation period has become a lot shorter, and we’ve seen people get infected between three and seven days.”

The Chief Medical Officer also reminded people of the importance of following masking guidance. “Wear your mask for the full ten days in that period of time you could potentially develop COVID, whether you are symptomatic or asymptomatic.”

She said masks have been around for many, many years in the medical industry because they work.

“Masks do help, they have helped, and this is really an important measure for us again, as an infection control measure.”

During the period post-exposure, listen to your body to see if you start to become ill.

“If you have symptoms, you need to consider yourself to be a clinical COVID case, if you’ve been exposed,” Dr. Landers said.