INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (WDAF) – The CDC’s decision to shorten COVID-19 isolation and quarantine periods is drawing criticism from some medical experts. Monday’s action cut isolation times in half, from 10 days to five days, for people infected with COVID-19 but showing no symptoms.
The federal decision is happening as hospitalizations are rising. As of Tuesday, the University of Kansas Hospital had 88 COVID-19 patients. Two of those patients are fully vaccinated, according to the hospital’s figures.
So there remains some concern on the decision to scale back on quarantines as some families struggle through the pandemic they see as clearly not over.
Jacquetta Hyzer knows this firsthand.
Her youngest son, Troy, was known best for calling her home in Independence, Missouri, every morning. Hyzer said they are well-remembered conversations.
“‘Momma, did you go to the gym? I seen you on Facebook. I’m so proud of you. And you keep going to the gym,'” Hyzer mimicked, recalling a common conversation from pre-pandemic times.
“I talked with him the morning before he passed and he did pass at his home. Alone. He was by himself,” Hyzer said.
“His wife was in the hospital with COVID,” said Yvonne Smith, Hyzer’s daughter.
“He said ‘Oh, I got to be strong for the wife,'” Hyzer said. “And it was like, you got to be strong for yourself. And he said, ‘It’s all right momma’ or ‘Mother.’ He always called me mother. And he said ‘It’s alright, mother I’m going to be alright. Then… I lost him.”
On Tuesday, the phone rang about another one of Hyzer’s children, her daughter, Yvette.
“She went to St. Mary’s Hospital in Blue Springs. She went into the ICU,” Hyzer said. “I got the call right at 7 a.m. this morning that she was gone. It really hurts my heart and makes me so mad at my daughter right now. I am mad at Yvette.”
Hyzer explains that Yvette was unvaccinated. She says she tried to get her daughter to get the shot because of her “several medical conditions.”
“Her doctor let us go in and see her on Christmas Day, which was such a blessing to me because I didn’t get to be with my son at all. I never got to see him,” Hyzer said, reflecting on Troy’s death, also from COVID-19, four months to the day before Yvette’s death.
“I just feel like parts of me are gone,” Smith said. “And I don’t know that I’m going to be enough for my momma. I’m worried about my momma.”
Smith, the middle child, is now an only child. She said she is facing frustration over skepticism within her family.
“It makes me angry. Because this will kill you. It is real. Very real. And even my three children, they won’t get the vaccine neither. And they’re grown so I can’t make them but… don’t you get it?” Smith said. “What’s it going to take for you to get it?”
Smith has a visible port in her arm where she receives dialysis, a part of her continuing treatment for Leukemia.
She said she’s dealing with the pain in her family, and although she’s vaccinated, there are continuing fears about rising case numbers in the community working through this new change in isolation recommendations from the CDC.