The CDC offers shorter 7 and 10 day Covid quarantine guidelines

The women will pass a new coronavirus test site in Los Angeles, California on December 1, 2020.

Lucy Nicholson | Reuters

The Center for Disease Prevention and Control announced on Wednesday abbreviated alternatives to recommended quarantine for those suffering from Covid-19 infection, said Dr. Henry Walke, the agency’s Covid-19 event handler.

He previously recommended it to anyone who had been under Covid-19 quarantine for 14 days. Walke said the agency continues to recommend a 14-day quarantine “as the best way to reduce the risk of Covid-19 spreading.” However, he said the CDC had identified “two acceptable alternatives.”

Quarantine can end in 10 days if the person has no symptoms, Walke said, adding that it can only end in seven days if the asymptomatic person also shows a negative result for the virus.

“We will continue to refine our guidance to prevent transmission and protect Americans,” Walke said. “Reducing the duration of quarantine can make it easier for people to follow critical public health measures by reducing the economic hardship associated with a longer period of time, especially if they are unable to work during that time.”

Walke added that local health officials can adjust the agency’s recommendations according to the situation in their jurisdiction. According to him, regardless of the duration of quarantine, people should monitor their own symptoms for 14 days after exposure.

Dr. John Brooks, chief physician of the CDC Covid-19 response, said ending quarantine after 10 days without a negative test, based on modeling by the CDC and external researchers, poses an approximately 1% risk of the virus spreading to other people. After 7 days of quarantine with a negative test, there is about a 5% chance of the virus spreading, he added.

The recommended quarantine applies to those who are considered to be “closely related” to Covid-19 patients. The CDC defines a close relationship as “who has been within 6 minutes of a total of 24 minutes from an infected person for a total of 24 minutes within 2 hours of the onset of infection” or a positive test.

Public health professionals were looking forward to the change with “joyful anticipation,” Dr. Bill Schaffner, an epidemiologist at Vanderbilt University, said in a telephone interview Wednesday. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the CDC was considering such a change.

The original 14-day quarantine period, scientists say, was based on a long coronavirus incubation period during which symptoms do not yet appear and it is difficult to detect the virus. Schaffner pointed out that the 14-day recommendation was “written before the tests became widely available,” and researchers have since learned more about the virus.

“Several people have been thinking for a while now that testing is available, it could be introduced into the evaluation scheme for quarantined people,” he said, adding that it will help potentially exposed people return to work more quickly. .

“It’s good for public health and the economy,” he said, “and it’s good for people’s mental health. “

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