CDC Shortens Its COVID-19 Quarantine Recommendations

A sign reminds motorists of Los Angeles County’s stay-at-home regulation. On Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rolled out its revised guidelines for people potentially exposed to the coronavirus. Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

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.

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, including economic hardship.

During a telephone briefing with reporters Wednesday, Dr. Henry Walke, the CDC’s incident manager, said 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 exposure.

For the upcoming holiday season, the CDC is recommending people stay home — just as it did before the Thanksgiving holiday.

But if people do travel, the guidelines are that individuals should get a coronavirus test one to three days before travel and then three to five days after travel, combined with quarantine for seven days after arriving.

Colin Dwyer
Author: Colin Dwyer

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