The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated its guidelines about quarantining after getting exposed to COVID-19. Under the new advisory, some people only need to quarantine for between seven and ten days instead of 14.
The agency said that if a person shows no symptoms after ten days, they can leave quarantine, even without getting a COVID-19 test. If a person is exposed and tests negative and shows no symptoms, they can stop self-isolating after just seven days. Officials said that people should still watch out for symptoms for up to 14 days.
The CDC said that people should still listen to their local authorities, who may recommend quarantining for the full 14 days.
"I want to stress that we are sharing these options with public health agencies across the country, so that they can determine how long quarantine period should last in their jurisdictions based on local conditions and needs," Dr. Henry Walke, the CDC's COVID-19 incident manager, said. "Everyone should follow this specific guidance from their local public health authorities about how long they should quarantine."
Health officials applauded the move and hope it will help with contact tracing efforts. Many people are wary about having to quarantine for two weeks and fear they could lose their job following a positive test. This has caused some people to ignore their symptoms and avoid getting tested.
"A seven or ten-day quarantine recommendation may be easier for people to bear and hopefully may help get more contacts of cases to comply and better enable efforts to stop transmission of the virus," Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, told the Washington Post in an email.
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