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CDC lowers its 14-day quarantine period

Posted at 6:46 PM, Dec 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-03 21:49:00-05

MAGIC VALLEY — The CDC decreased its 14-day quarantine period down to seven or ten days in an effort to get more people to quarantine.

After someone has been exposed to COVID-19, they can now quarantine for seven days after testing negative for the virus or ten days after not being tested and not showing any symptoms.

"The CDC and public health, in general, do not change guidance lightly. The only time you're going to see guidance change is when there is significant scientific evidence supporting that change. So the fact that the CDC is bringing that quarantine period down a little bit means that there is a scientific basis behind that decision," Brianna Bodily with the South Central Public health District, SCPHD, said.

Since the CDC only recently announced the change, the SCPHD has not yet implemented any changes to their guidelines. They encourage the public to continue to quarantine for the recommended 14 days.

"As public health officials, we get calls from people with very, very specific situations. Before we change any of our guidelines, we want to understand thoroughly what those changes will represent across all of the different cases that we are helping people work through," Bodily said.

On their website, the CDC says they made the decision after they determined the risks of spreading the virus after the recommended seven or ten days is relatively low. According to their website, if a person quarantines for ten days, the residual risk of spreading the virus is 1%. The residual risk of spreading the virus after quarantining for seven days is 5%.

They say they hope this change will help lower the amount of COVID-19 cases.

The SCPHD says they are waiting for the CDC to answer a list of questions they have sent before implementing any changes.

"Some of the questions we are working on right now is, does that mean you should be masking indoors and around other family members. Can you end quarantine early if you are considered high-risk exposure? For example, if your partner or someone you live with contracted covid-19, can you still end quarantine early? Some of those questions are still being worked out," Bodily said.

SCPHD says that even if they implement the change, they still recommend that people follow the proper safety precautions after quarantining, like social distancing and wearing a mask.

For more information on this change, you can visit the CDC's website.