The previous quarantine advisory from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was 14 days after potential COVID-19 exposure. The new guidelines state that people can reduce this 14-day period to 10 or even 7 days. Shortening your quarantine time will depend on specific circumstances, which are as follows:
- Quarantine can end after 10 days without a test if the person does not experience symptoms.
- Quarantine can end after 7 days, only if the person tests negative for the virus and reports that they are free of symptoms.
While these are the new CDC guidelines, local health officials can issue their own guidelines based on conditions in the area. Health officials from the CDC still say that you should monitor your own health 14 days after exposure, even if you stop quarantining after 7 or 10 days.
Why Should You Quarantine?
The purpose of quarantining is to limit the spread of COVID-19. If you are exposed to the virus, it’s integral to take preventative measures to keep you and everyone around you safe. This means that you remain in one room as much as possible. You sleep separate, use a separate bathroom, always wear a mask, and avoid sharing utensils. Doing all of those things makes less work for other people in your house. Because COVID-19 is a highly contagious disease, quarantining is the best method to prevent spreading.
Do New Quarantine Guidelines Increase COVID-19 Risk?
There is a new risk level that accompanies the new CDC quarantine guidelines. According to Dr. John Brooks, chief medical officer for the CDC’s COVID-19 response, reducing quarantine time to 10 days increases a person’s risk by 1-12%. It’s possible for a person to spread the virus after both a 10-day and 7-day quarantine, even if the person tests negative in both instances. This is why you need to monitor symptoms and health for 14 days after exposure.
What’s The Reason For The New Guidelines?
Unfortunately, there is no specific reasoning as to why the CDC issued new quarantine guidelines. Health experts suspect that the updated guidelines come in response to new understanding of the virus. According to research, it’s very rare for someone to become symptomatic 7 days after exposure. Additionally, quarantining for 14 days puts a strain on companies, especially if the person experiences no symptoms and tests negative. Allowing these shorter quarantine times may reduces the strain on companies by letting workers return to work earlier, provided they wear masks.
What Happens If You Test Positive?
If you test positive for coronavirus, revert to the 14-day quarantine model. Isolate at home and do not go out. Have a family member, roommate, or friend go out for you. Always wear a mask, even indoors, stay away from every person in the house, and practice regular disinfection and hand washing. If you live with others, make sure that they get tested and quarantine until the results come back.
Even with the vaccine coming out, it’s integral to adhere to quarantine recommendations. People continue to test positive and die because of the novel coronavirus, so don’t think that we are out of the woods. Limit the spread as much as possible by quarantining if necessary. If you are worried about exposure, please take a PCR test. This is the most accurate test and it involves a nasal swab.