Q: The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced modifications to its quarantine guidelines for COVID-19. What are the modifications, and can these be followed for all states?

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A: On December 2, 2020 the CDC announced options to reduce quarantine when a person is exposed to COVID-19.  The CDC now recommends two additional options for how long quarantine should last for people without symptoms. The reduced periods for ending quarantine are:

  1. On day 10 without testing, or;
  2. On day 7 after receiving a negative test result

After stopping quarantine, individuals should:

  • Watch for symptoms until 14 days after exposure.
  • If they have symptoms, immediately self-isolate and contact their local public health authority or healthcare provider.
  • Wear a mask, stay at least 6 feet from others, wash their hands, avoid crowds, and take other steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19

The CDC continues to endorse quarantine for 14 days. It is up to local public health authorities to make a final decision on how long quarantine should last in the communities they serve. Employers should check the local authorities’ websites as information becomes available. The Commonwealth of PA is still recommended a 14 day quarantine period for people who have had close exposure to someone with COVID-19.

Helpful Resources

Quarantine If You Are Sick

When to Quarantine if Exposed to COVID-19

Definition of Close Contact

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