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MA Department of Public Health Updates Guidance to Prevent the Spread of Respiratory Viruses

On March 25, 2024, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health released a new guidance for what to do if you have symptoms of viral respiratory illness, or if you test positive for a viral respiratory illness. This updated guidance comes on the heels of CDC’s new guidance for all respiratory viruses, which includes COVID-19, influenza, and RSV.

Updates to Isolation Guidelines

Guidance has changed to a symptom-based strategy. Symptoms of a viral respiratory illness can include fever, chills, fatigue, cough, runny nose, and headache.

The new guidance recommends staying home (self-isolating) until your symptoms are improved for at least 24 hours AND you’ve been fever-free for at least 24 hours without fever-reducing medications. If your symptoms come back, worsen, or a fever returns, stay home and away from others again until, for at least 24 hours, both are true: your symptoms are improving overall, and you have not had a fever (and are not using fever-reducing medication).

About Preventing Spread of Respiratory Viruses When You’re Sick | Respiratory Illnesses | CDC

Updated to Precautions in the Community

CDC recommends taking extra precautions for five days after you exit self-isolation. You could still be infectious to others even if you are feeling better. Prevent transmission by taking steps for cleaner airpracticing good hygienewearing a maskphysical distancing, and testing if you may be around others indoors.

CDC Guidance for Healthcare Settings

This guidance remains unchanged. Healthcare workers and settings should still follow longstanding guidance for COVID-19flu, and general infection prevention.