California eases COVID protocols, mild cases no longer warrant isolation: State health department

Christiane Cordero Image
Tuesday, January 23, 2024
California eases COVID rules, mild cases no longer warrant isolation
California, the state that once enacted some of the strictest COVID-19 protocols, has recently relaxed its guidance, going even a step further than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KABC) -- California, the state that once enacted some of the strictest COVID-19 protocols, has recently relaxed its guidance, going even a step further than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A new California Department of Public Health order allows return-to-work and and return-to-school in cases that have no fever for 24 hours, with mild and improving symptoms.

Asymptomatic cases have no isolation period. Neither situation requires a negative test to carry on.

Dr. Joey Gee is a neurologist who frequently works with long COVID patients. He is not surprised by the change.

"We are much different now than we were three to four years ago," said Dr. Gee. "And that's where I see policies have to evolve with the present moment."

He says because of the increased immunity, through both infection and vaccination, the virus isn't as big of a threat as it once was. The Covid-19 public health emergency ended May 2023.

"We are still having to take care of (long) COVID," said Gee, adding a caveat. "And we still see individual people get infected by the virus still to this day."

Across the country, 38 states are experiencing high or very high levels of respiratory illness activity, including California.

The Department of Public Health emphasizes the potential infectious period remains at two days before symptoms began or testing positive, through the next 10 days.

People with compromised immune systems are likely taking extra precaution. The change, Gee said, puts everyone else in a position to make decisions accordingly.

"We do have to learn to take that responsibility ourselves, to take care ourselves, and of course be responsible for our loved ones around us," Gee said.

Masking protocol has not changed. Health officials at every level recommend wearing a mask for the entire 10-day period, symptomatic or not.