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New CDC COVID guidelines cause confusion in northeast Wisconsin

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Prevea St. Mary_s Health Center_exterior.jpg
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GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently changed the recommended isolation period for Covid-19 from 10 days to five, causing some confusion for local health leaders.

But what's causing the confusion isn't the guidance itself. It's the way the new information was rolled out.

"As healthcare providers, the CDC has our heads spinning too," said Dr. Ashok Rai, Prevea Health President and CEO. But despite the confusion, Dr. Rai says he is vouching for the new guidance.

Aurora Baycare lung specialist Dr. Raul Mendoza adds that based on all of the science that has accumulated in the past 12 months, they know that the highest period of infectivity is in the first one or two days of the patient being symptomatic.

Some also believe that the decision isn't being made solely on safety - which is in part true, according to the nation's top infectious disease specialist himself.

Dr. Anthony Fauci said, "There is the danger that there will be so many people who are being isolated, who are asymptomatic for the full ten days, that you could have a major negative impact on our ability to keep society running."

The CDC shortened the recommended isolation period, but only if you are without symptoms and wearing a mask for the additional five days after isolation.

Bellin Health President and CEO Chris Woleske says that from all health perspectives, we're still learning.

"Hospitalizations and the potential for death we want to mitigate that other illnesses that are delayed or deferred because people are concerned another harm that can result in that same space is when we don’t have the staff to care for people and then the fourth and final harm is the economic one that shutdown cause in terms of business not being open. We need to mitigate the harm in all four of those areas and it’s a balanced approach," said Woleske.

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The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reports COVID-19 disease activity is "critically high" in 20 counties and "very high" in 52 counties. Click here to track activity in your area.

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