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On May 24, CDC issued a Health Alert Network (HAN) Health Advisory to update healthcare providers, public health departments and the public on the potential for recurrence of COVID-19 or “COVID-19 rebound.”
COVID-19 rebound has been reported to occur between 2 and 8 days after initial recovery and is characterized by a recurrence of COVID-19 symptoms or a new positive viral test after having tested negative.
Paxlovid continues to be recommended for early-stage treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 among persons at high risk for progression to severe disease. Paxlovid treatment helps prevent hospitalization and death due to COVID-19.
A brief return of symptoms may be part of the natural history of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) infection in some persons, independent of treatment with Paxlovid and regardless of vaccination status. Limited information currently available from case reports suggests that persons treated with Paxlovid who experience COVID-19 rebound have had a mild illness; there are no reports of severe disease. There is currently no evidence that additional treatment is needed with Paxlovid or other anti-SARS-CoV-2 therapies in cases where COVID-19 rebound is suspected.
People with recurrence of COVID-19 symptoms or a new positive viral test after having tested negative should restart isolation and isolate again for at least 5 days. Per CDC guidance, they can end their re-isolation period after 5 full days if fever has resolved for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication) and symptoms are improving. The individual should wear a mask for a total of 10 days after rebound symptoms started.