The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its quarantine guidance for people exposed to COVID-19, providing two options for shortening the standard 14-day quarantine period.
A person who has been exposed to and is identified as a close contact of an individual who tests positive for COVID-19 is required to quarantine, which involves staying home and away from other people, for a designated period in order to prevent further spread of disease. The CDC guidance, which is posted here, retains the option of a 14-day quarantine but allows people who do not have symptoms to reduce their quarantine to seven or 10 days, depending on whether they get tested.
Under the revised guidance:
• Quarantine can end after 10 days if the person has not developed any symptoms. A test is not required.
• Quarantine can end after seven days if the person tests negative for COVID-19 on day five, six or seven of the quarantine and has not developed any symptoms.
Both alternatives require that the person adhere to strict practices of masking, social distancing, handwashing and watching for any symptoms through day 14. They also require daily monitoring for symptoms.
State Health Commissioner Kris Box, M.D., FACOG, said the shorter quarantine periods will lessen the disruptions on schools and workplaces by allowing students, teachers and other key workers to return sooner.
However, she urged Hoosiers to complete the 10-day quarantine to avoid further increasing demand for testing.
“Our testing volume across the state has increased significantly, which has strained our laboratory system and extended the time Hoosiers are waiting for results,” Box said. “If you know you have been exposed to COVID-19 but don’t have symptoms, please quarantine for 10 days and save that test for a symptomatic individual who needs results quickly.”
Box noted that while the risk of transmitting COVID-19 at day seven or 10 is low, it is not zero, and the 14-day quarantine may still be the best option for some Hoosiers.
“If you have a job that allows you to work from home just as efficiently as you do in the office, or if you work with vulnerable populations such as cancer patients, please complete the 14 days of quarantine to further reduce any risk that you can spread COVID-19 to someone else,” she said.
For more information about COVID-19, visit www.coronavirus.in.gov.