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CDC issues new COVID-19 quarantine guidelines

The Centers for Disease Control and prevention (CDC) this week reduced the length of quarantine for individuals who come in contact with a person with COVID-19. The new guidelines became effective immediately and are listed below in detail, says Dr. Charles Ruis, District Health Director, Southwest Public Health District 8-2.

Following notification of possible exposure to COVID-19, it is very important for your own safety and for the safety of others that you monitor your health for 14 days from your last possible exposure to COVID. The time period that you must remain at home, avoid congregate settings and public activities, and practice social distancing will depend on your situation. 

Duration of Quarantine

If you are not sick, you agree to monitor your health for symptoms of COVID-19 during the 14 days following the last time you were in close contact with a sick person with COVID-19. Monitoring your health includes checking your temperature twice a day and watching for symptoms for 14 days. You will quarantine yourself at home except in case of emergency or to be tested for
COVID-19. 

The recommended time period for quarantine is 14 days, but under the new guidelines you may be able to leave quarantine prior to that if certain criteria are met: 

1. If you live in a congregate setting, you should remain in quarantine for the full 14 days since your last known exposure, even if you remain asymptomatic.

2. If you do NOT live in a congregate setting you can discontinue quarantine:

• After seven full days have passed since your most recent exposure occurred, if you fulfill all THREE of the following criteria:

• Do not experience any symptoms during your monitoring period

• Are tested for COVID-19 (The test should be a diagnostic test – PCR or antigen) and the specimen for your test may not be collected more than 48 hours before the time of planned quarantine discontinuation. If you plan to discontinue quarantine after seven full days, this means you should not have a sample collected for a test until after you have completed five full days of quarantine.

• Receive a negative result (You may not discontinue quarantine until you have completed a minimum of seven full days since your most recent exposure, even if you receive your negative test result earlier. If your result is positive, you must follow DPH isolation guidance)

• If you are unable to be tested for COVID-19 during your quarantine period, you may discontinue quarantine any day after day 10 if you do not experience any symptoms during your monitoring period.

If you discontinue quarantine prior to 14 days, you should continue to monitor your health and follow mitigation strategies until 14 days after your most recent exposure and isolate immediately if symptoms develop. Mitigation strategies that should be practiced include correct and consistent mask use, social distancing, hand and cough hygiene, environmental cleaning and disinfection, avoiding crowds, and ensuring adequate indoor ventilation. 

For more information about COVID-19, visit https://dph.georgia.gov/novelcoronavirus or https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

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