CDC shortens Its COVID-19 quarantine recommendations

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has revised its guidelines for people who may have been exposed to the coronavirus. Now, instead of the standard 14-day quarantine it has been recommending, the CDC says that potential exposure warrants a quarantine of 10 or seven days, depending on one’s test results and symptoms, according to a NPR report.

If individuals do not develop symptoms, they need only quarantine for 10 days; if they test negative, that period can be reduced to just one week.

The revision marks a significant change from the CDC’s recommendations since the start of the pandemic earlier this year. While the agency says a 14-day quarantine remains the safest option, it acknowledged this length placed difficult demands on people.

“Reducing the length of quarantine may make it easier for people to take this critical public health action by reducing the economic hardship associated with a longer period, especially if they cannot work during that time,” Dr. Henry Walke, the CDC’s incident manager for its COVID-19 response, told reporters on a conference call Wednesday.

“In addition, a shorter quarantine period can lessen stress on the public health system and communities, especially when new infections are rapidly rising.”

Walke added that people should still watch closely for symptoms — such as fever, a cough or a loss of taste or smell — for a full 14 days after possible exposure.

John Brooks, chief medical officer for CDC’s COVID-19 response, said the agency based its revised guidelines “on extensive modeling, not just by CDC but by other agencies and partners.”

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