CDC Issues New Guidance on Quarantine of Individuals Exposed to Persons with COVID-19

December 5, 2020

December 4, 2020|by Kathleen M. Connelly

Until now, the CDC recommended a 14-day quarantine for individuals who might have had “close contact” with a person who has or is suspected of having COVID-19.[1]  This quarantine was longer than the 10-day recommendation for those who test positive, as the longer quarantine period is based on estimates of the upper boundaries of the viral incubation period. However, in its new guidance issued December 2, 2020, the CDC acknowledged three adverse consequences of the 14-day quarantine:

  • It can impose personal burdens that may affect physical and mental health as well as economic hardship that may reduce compliance.
  • It may pose additional burdens on public health systems and communities, especially when cases are rising and the need to impose quarantines are rapidly rising.
  • It may dissuade recently diagnosed persons from naming contacts and dissuade contacts from responding to contact tracer outreach if they perceive the duration of the quarantine is too onerous.

New Shorter Quarantine Options. In an effort to reduce these burdens and increase community compliance, the CDC has announced the following shorter quarantine alternatives to the 14-day quarantine.

  1. 10-Day Quarantine Option. Under this option, quarantine can end after day 10 without testing and if no symptoms have been reported during this period.
  2. 7-Day Quarantine Option. If diagnostic testing resources are available, quarantine can end after day 7 if i) the test results are negative and ii) no symptoms are reported during this period.  The testing specimen may be collected and tested within 48 hours of the expiration of the 7-day period (or before the planned end of quarantine in the event of testing delays).

Quarantine may only be discontinued under either option if these additional criteria are met:

  • no clinical evidence of COVID-19 was elicited via daily symptom monitoring during the entirety of the quarantine;
  • daily symptom monitoring continues through day 14; and
  • persons are counseled regarding the need to strictly adhere through day 14 to all recommended non-pharmaceutical mitigation strategies, and advised to immediately contact local health officials or their healthcare provider and self-isolate should symptoms develop.

Of course, individuals can continue to quarantine for the longer 14-day period without testing in accordance with the preexisting recommendations, which maximally reduces the risk of post-quarantine transmission.

Persons Who Must Quarantine Together, Such as Households. The CDC further recommends that when housing is shared (e.g., families, incarcerated persons, students), every effort should be made to physically separate the quarantined individual from others through such measures as having the quarantined individual residing alone in a separate closed room with exclusive use of their own bathroom and implementation of other mitigating strategies.  If any co-housed person is diagnosed with COVID-19, all co-housed persons will require evaluation as contacts.

[1] The CDC defines “close contact” as being within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to test specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.

As always Lindabury’s Labor & Employment team is vigilantly monitoring the legislative and regulatory developments in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Stay up to date with the latest information by visiting the Lindabury COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Resource Center. If you have any questions, please contact Lindabury.

Related Articles
If OSHA's new Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) on COVID-19 applies to your company, it may be helpful to understand what the agency's compliance officers are looking for when they are inspecting affected workplaces, and how they are directed to issue citations for violations of the standard. …
Pandemic legislation has created significant opportunities for small and medium sized businesses. Rules ever changing, the programs have been shaped time and time again. Spend one hour with Withum experts as they detail some of the programs which have been most beneficial to businesses. The free webinar takes place June 28, 2021 from 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm EDT.…
OSHA recently released an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) on COVID-19 covering settings where employees provide healthcare services or healthcare support services. Contractors providing healthcare support services, such as equipment and facility maintenance, may have to comply with several provisions in the ETS. However, the standard does not apply to "well-defined hospital ambulatory care settings" where all employees are fully vaccinated, all non-employees are screened prior to entry, and people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are not permitted to enter those settings. Contractors whose employees are not providing healthcare support services are exempt from the ETS. However, OSHA has updated its guidelines for employers based on the most current guidance from the CDC. Employers are urged to comply with the updated guidelines.…
OSHA's recently presented Emergency Temporary Standard on COVID-19 (ETS) describes specific requirements for healthcare facility ventilation systems. The requirements apply to employers who own or control buildings or structures with an existing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system(s) where employees provide healthcare services or healthcare support services. If your company provides HVAC services for an affected employer, the contents of the ETS ventilation provision may be helpful to you. …

MCAA’s GreatFutures Virtual Fall Program kicks off tomorrow, September 15. Each of the 17 presentations is meant to help guide students through the proposal and bid process for the annual MCAA Student Chapter Competition project. Don't forget to register! http://ow.ly/w63v50BqCSg

MCAA is excited to announce REGISTRATION IS OPEN for the PCA Virtual Education Series! This year, attendees will virtually walk through seven workstations at JPG Plumbing & Mechanical Service, Inc. as representatives speak about the various aspects. http://ow.ly/DHGK50Bgm0C

Register today for MCAA’s GreatFutures Virtual Fall Program starting September 15 through November 17! Each presentation is meant to help students navigate the proposal and bid process for the annual Student Chapter Competition project. https://t.co/7aHJmLEgKE

Registration is open for MCAA’s GreatFutures Fall Virtual Program! From September 15 through November 17, MCAA will host 17 presentations aimed at guiding our student chapters through creating a bid for the annual MCAA Student Chapter Competition project. http://ow.ly/mfbe50B7SZd

Load More...