For many months, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended a 14-day quarantine for anyone who has been exposed to COVID-19. However, on December 2, the agency offered alternatives to that original two-week guideline.
The New Recommendations
The two alternatives are as follows:
- A 10-day quarantine for individuals who have been exposed but are experiencing no symptoms
- A seven-day quarantine for individuals who have been exposed but have received a negative COVID-19 test result and have experienced no symptoms
Note that for the seven-day option, individuals must remain symptom-free for the entire seven days, even with a negative test result. If the test result is delayed, the quarantine continues until the result is provided. Also, note that all members of a household are still required to quarantine together if any member has been exposed.
According to Dr. Henry Walke, who serves as CDC COVID-19 incident manager, the agency continues to see the 14-day quarantine as the best option for stopping the virus’s spread. The agency has provided these new options to alleviate the economic hardships for those unable to work during quarantine. It also considered the physical and mental health ramifications for those who must remain isolated. A further concern is that infected individuals may hesitate to name others they have been in contact with, and those contacts may resist contract tracing efforts if the length of the quarantine appears to be burdensome.
Walke commented that people should continue to watch for any symptoms for the full 14 days and follow guidelines in accordance with their local health departments.
“I want to stress that we are sharing these options with public health agencies across the country, so that they can determine how long the quarantine period should last in their jurisdictions, based on local conditions and needs,” Walke said. “Everyone should follow this specific guidance from their local public health authorities about how long they should quarantine.”
The CDC recognizes that these new alternatives may increase the need for additional testing and faster results. It urges public health departments to provide equal access for all citizens.
The 14-day quarantine had been one of the cornerstones of the CDC’s COVID-19 preventative guidelines, along with wearing masks and social distancing. The agency states, “These recommendations are based on the best information available in November 2020 and reflect the realities of an evolving pandemic.”
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.