WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — Guidelines for COVID-19 isolations and quarantines have been changed in Jefferson County.

On Friday, January 7, Jefferson County Public Health Service updated isolation protocols for people with COVID-19 and quarantine protocols for those exposed to the virus. This is to match federal and state guidelines issued earlier in January.

Effective immediately, those who test positive for COVID-19 will only have to isolate for five days if they are asymptomatic or “mildly ill” and asymptomatic by the end of day five. COVID patients who fit into this category will then be required to continuously mask for an additional five days following their isolation period.

However, ten-day isolations will still be required for some. This includes childcare workers, children under Pre-K, non-school-aged children, immunocompromised individuals and others who cannot wear a mask.

In COVID isolation cases, those who reside in the household who is unvaccinated, immunocompromised or have other underlying health conditions are advised to monitor for symptoms.

JCPHS also confirmed that those who have been exposed to COVID-19, who are considered “close contacts,” will not be required to quarantine if they are fully vaccinated, have received their booster shot and do not have symptoms.

Those who have symptoms are not fully vaccinated and are boosted will be subject to quarantine. In these cases, individuals will be required to stay home, unless seeking medical care.

A close contact is defined as a person within six feet of the infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.

An infection period starts from two days before illness onset, or two days prior to a COVID-19 test for asymptomatic patients. The infection period ends when the positive case is isolated.

As of January 7, many surrounding counties had also adopted this new isolation and quarantine guidance, This included both St. Lawrence and Lewis counties.