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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director defended the agency's latest isolation guidance on Sunday, saying it is "hard" to provide updated recommendations with an "ever-evolving variant."

Why it matters: Rochelle Walensky's remarks on "Fox News Sunday" come after the CDC's latest guidance, which shortened the quarantine period for those who are asymptomatic, received pushback for not requiring a negative COVID test.

What they're saying: "This is hard," Walensky told host Bret Baier. "We have ever-evolving science with an ever-evolving variant and my job is to provide updated guidance in the context of rapidly rising cases."

  • That "is what we've done and I'm here to explain it to the American people and I'm committed to continuing to do so and to continuing to improve," she added.
  • "I will say is the most important thing we can do is get our children vaccinated, get our teachers vaccinated, get our teenagers vaccinated and then to practice all of those layers of mitigation strategies that have been proved to work."

The big picture: Last week, the CDC clarified that people who have "access to a test" and want "to test" can do so but ultimately did not make a negative test a requirement to leave isolation, Axios' Tina Reed writes.

  • The agency also said it did not require tests because "a negative antigen test does not necessarily indicate the absence of transmissible virus."

Go deeper

Jan 15, 2022 - Health

Beijing reports first local Omicron case weeks before Winter Olympics

A man looks out at a security guard from behind a fence Jan. 14 at a Beijing hotel housing those who have arrived for the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics. Photo: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Beijing on Saturday reported its first locally transmitted case of Omicron, less than three weeks before the start of the Winter Olympics, Reuters reports.

Driving the news: Lab testing found "mutations specific to the Omicron variant" of COVID-19 in the individual, an official at the city's disease control authority told a news briefing, per Reuters.

Minneapolis and St. Paul to require vaccine or test for indoor dining

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

New vaccine-or-test requirements for indoor dining and drinking in Minneapolis and St. Paul take effect Wednesday.

The big picture: A growing number of major cities, including Boston, Chicago and New York, have instituted similar requirements in an effort to protect public health.

Yes, but: Questions about enforcement, logistics and effectiveness of the temporary measures here remain.

Updated Jan 14, 2022 - Axios Twin Cities

Questions about Twin Cities indoor dining vaccine mandates, answered

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Vaccine-or-test mandates for indoor dining go into effect in Minneapolis and St. Paul on Wednesday, Jan. 19. Here are answers to some common questions on the orders:

Q: Are all restaurants covered by the requirement?

A: No, St. Paul's order only covers establishments licensed by the city. That means coffee shops, fast food chains and other places that do not serve alcohol are exempt, according to the Pioneer Press.