AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – Although early research seems to point to the idea of the COVID-19 omicron variant causing more mild illness than other forms of the virus, especially for those who have been fully vaccinated, the latest surge of the pandemic and changes to official CDC guidelines have left many reeling.

So, what do you do if you contract COVID-19? What if you’ve been exposed, and are waiting on a test? Here are the latest guidelines, according to the CDC and Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) for those who have been exposed to the virus, and those who have tested positive:

If you are exposed to COVID-19

Quarantine for five days and follow strict mask usage for five days afterward if you:

  • Are not vaccinated
  • Have not received a booster shot

“Alternatively,” said the CDC, “if a 5-day quarantine is not feasible, it is imperative that an exposed person wear a well-fitting mask at all times when around others for 10 days after exposure.”

You do not need to quarantine, but should follow strict mask usage for 10 days after exposure if you:

  • Have received your booster shot

Everyone who is exposed to COVID-19 should be tested five days after exposure, according to the CDC.

If you have symptoms, the CDC said you should immediately quarantine until you receive a negative test for COVID-19.

If you test positive for COVID-19

If it is confirmed that you have COVID-19, the CDC said that you should isolate for at least five days.

After five days of isolation:

  • Those who do not have symptoms, or their syptoms are improving (as in, you have not had a fever for 24 hours), a mask should be worn for an additional five days

Quarantine vs. Isolation

The CDC describes quarantine as the behavior during the time after exposure to the virus or close contact with someone known to have the virus. Isolation, meanwhile, was described by the CDC as a behavior done after an infection is confirmed.

“Both updates come as the Omicron variant continues to spread throughout the U.S. and reflects the current science on when and for how long a person is maximally infectious,” said the CDC, “These recommendations do not supersede state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, nor do they apply to healthcare workers for whom CDC has updated guidance.”

Other Guidelines

The DSHS website and other information pages by the CDC have not yet been updated to reflect the recent changes in isolation and quarantine recommendations.

However, while the number of days for isolation and quarantine have been subject to recent changes, other recommendations by the DSHS and CDC have remained consistent. The DSHS published a page with frequently asked questions about COVID-19, including the latest recommendations for people who are experiencing symptoms or are caring for themselves or another person who has been infected.

This story is developing. Check with MyHighPlains.com for updates.