By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – As a surge of COVID-19 cases plagues Los Angeles County, new federal guidelines have reduced quarantine times for those who test positive.

“I do think it will help with people complying in regards to isolating given the shorter amount of time,” said physician assistant Hannah Hunt, who tested positive for COVID.

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On Monday, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced a change in the recommended isolation time for both people who test positive with COVID-19 and people who come in close contact with someone who has tested positive.

The recommended quarantine time has been cut in half, from 10 days to 5.

“Most people are going to be infectious in those first two days — the pre-symptomatic stage,” said Dr. Michael Daignault, from Providence St. Joseph Medical Center. “And then for the next three days after that.”

Based on new findings, the CDC reported evidence that supports that people who have Coronavirus – any of the variants – are most immediately contagious for the two days before, and the three days after they come down with symptoms.

“They’re trying to do science-based, evidence-based guidelines,” added Daignault. “And No. 2 they’re trying to balance the operational needs of different industries, like healthcare, airline industries.”

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This may also come due to the fact that the Omicron variant, now the driving variant in the world, is less symptomatic and virulent, and in many cases asymptomatic altogether.

CDC Director Rachel Walensky warned of a potentially massive spike in positive COVID-19 cases following Christmas.

The Omicron variant is spreading quickly and has the potential to impact all facets of our society. CDC’s updated recommendations for isolation and quarantine balance what we know about the spread of the virus and the protection provided by vaccination and booster doses. These updates ensure people can safely continue their daily lives. Prevention is our best option: get vaccinated, get boosted, wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial and high community transmission, and take a test before you gather.”

With numbers on a steady rise throughout the nation, dozens of live events, sporting events and holiday celebrations have been canceled over recent weeks. Health experts suggest that those numbers are just the beginning of what may be the largest case numbers we’ve seen throughout the entire course of the pandemic.

California became the first state to record more than 5 million known coronavirus infections. The state dashboard reported the numbers Tuesday, which were delayed because of the holiday weekend.

The grim milestone, as reported by the California Department of Public Health, wasn’t entirely unexpected in a state with 40 million residents poised for a surge in new infections amid holiday parties and family gatherings forced indoors by a series of winter storms.

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California’s caseload is ahead of other large states. Texas had more than 4.4 million and Florida topped 3.9 million as of Sunday. The state has recorded more than 75,500 deaths related to COVID-19.