The virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading from person-to-person. People are thought to be most contagious when they are symptomatic (the sickest). That is why CDC recommends that these patients be isolated either in the hospital or at home (depending on how sick they are) until they are better and no longer pose a risk of infecting others. More recently the virus has also been detected in asymptomatic persons.
How long someone is actively sick can vary so the decision on when to release someone from isolation is made using a test-based or non-test-based strategy (i.e. time since illness started and time since recovery) in consultation with state and local public health officials. The decision involves considering the specifics of each situation, including disease severity, illness signs and symptoms, and the results of laboratory testing for that patient.
Learn more about CDC’s guidance on when to release someone from isolation and discharge hospitalized patients with COVID-19. For information on when someone who has been sick with COVID-19 is able to stop home isolation see Interim Guidance for Discontinuation of In-Home Isolation for Patients with COVID-19.
Someone who has been released from isolation is not considered to pose a risk of infection to others.
Source: CDC, USA