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You just tested positive for COVID, now what?

The CDC's new guidance cuts isolation times in half for people who test positive and also shortens quarantine time for those who come in close contact.

HOUSTON — COVID cases are skyrocketing and people are looking to health officials for guidance.

On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced new recommendations for people who test positive for COVID. Some of the changes are a bit surprising because they're less restrictive than they were before.

RELATED: CDC recommends shorter COVID isolation for asymptomatic patients

Here's a breakdown of what the CDC says to do if you test positive or come in close contact with someone who tests positive.

The CDC says that anyone who has COVID -- vaccinated or not -- should isolate for five days. Previously, they recommended a 10-day isolation period following a positive result.

The CDC also recommends for the person to continue wearing a mask through the 10th day after a positive result.

If you've been exposed to COVID and have the booster shot -- or if you've been vaccinated with a two-shot dose within six months or had the one-shot dose within two months -- the CDC says you don't need to quarantine at all but should test yourself on the fifth day after exposure and wear a mask for at least 10 days.

For all others -- including the unvaccinated -- the CDC says you should quarantine for five days and then wear a mask for at least 10 days.

“I was expecting some of that -- not quite all of it the way it is,” Dr. Stanley Spinner said.

Spinner is the Chief Medical Officer at Texas Children's Hospital.

“We’ve already, I think, seen higher numbers than we did at the peak of delta, or at least very close to it, and we are really still early into it,” Spinner said. "Almost everyone is going to get this and if everybody needs to stay home for 10 days, it’s going to put a strain on our schools, the economy, society as a whole. What is the risk-benefit ratio here? And they (CDC) determined that the risk of shortening the isolation ... the benefit of doing it outweighs the risk.”

Studies show that people are most contagious up to three days after their symptoms develop but some can still spread the virus after five days.

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