CDC says 14-day quarantine can be shortened to 10 days, 7 with test

Coronavirus

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued revised guidance Wednesday, shortening the standard 14-day quarantine for people exposed to COVID-19.

The new guidelines allow people who have come into contact with the virus to resume normal activity after 10 days if they are asymptomatic or 7 days if they receive a negative test result. That’s down from the standard 14-day quarantine period recommended by the agency since the pandemic began.

Dr. Danny Avula, Richmond and Henrico Health Director, said this move is an effort by the CDC to boost compliance from the public and acknowledge that the 14-day quarantine is onerous for many people.

“We recognize, particularly, for low income individuals who don’t have access to things like paid sick leave that being out of work for 14 days has real consequences for them,” Avula said. “So, having shorter options that could potentially get them back to work more quickly is going to be good for a lot of people.”

Dr. Avula said the prospect of a 14-day quarantine would also keep people from picking up calls from the health department and contact tracers, something the CDC is aiming to combat with revised guidelines.

“We absolutely understand that. Particularly for low-income families, there’s a really challenging decision about fulfilling a quarantine or putting food on the table. Hopefully, a shortened quarantine period will help make those decisions a little easier.”

The CDC estimates that ending a quarantine after 10 days without a negative test leads to about a 1% risk of spreading the virus. There’s about a 5% risk of spreading the virus after 7-days with a negative test, according to health officials.

Local and state health departments can continue to make more stringent recommendations based on each community.

“We will still be encouraging folks to do a full 14-day quarantine and then offering other possibilities if their circumstances dictate it,” Avula said. “We will always encourage people to take the safest option if they can.”

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