FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 3, 2020
Contact: Black Hawk County Health Department
Updated COVID-19 Quarantine Guidelines
On December 2, 2020 the CDC issued updated guidelines that provide alternatives to the 14 day quarantine period following an exposure to COVID-19. The 14 day quarantine period remains the most effective option to reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19, and the Black Hawk County Health Department continues to recommend that anyone who needs to quarantine following an exposure to COVID-19 quarantine at home for the full 14 days after exposure if they are able to. However, for those who are unable to quarantine for the full 14 days after exposure, the following CDC guidance provides alternatives to shorten the quarantine period.
· Quarantine may end after day 10 without testing if the person has not developed any symptoms following exposure, continues to monitor for symptoms for the full 14 days after exposure, and wears a face covering when outside of the home for the full 14 days after exposure.
· Quarantine may end after day 7 if the person has tested negative by a PCR test collected at least 5 days after last exposure to the positive case, has not developed symptoms following exposure, continues to monitor for symptoms for the full 14 days after exposure, and wears a face covering when outside of the home for the full 14 days after exposure. The negative test must have been received prior to ending quarantine, for example if test results are still pending on day 8 the person must continue to be in quarantine until they receive their test results.
· If at any time after ending quarantine the person develops symptoms of COVID-19 they must start isolating at home immediately, and contact their health care provider about being tested.
· Individuals in quarantine should separate from others in their household as much as possible, stay in a separate area of the home away from others, wear a face covering when they need to be around others in the home, use a separate bathroom if available, and practice regular cleaning of high touch and shared surfaces.
This change does not apply to the 10 day isolation period for people who have symptoms of COVID-19 or have tested positive for COVID-19. Additionally, the change in guidance does not alter the close contact definition to determine who should quarantine following an exposure to COVID-19. Close contact is still defined as someone who was within 6ft of a person who tested positive for COVID-19 for 15 or more consecutive minutes when one or both individuals were not wearing a face covering. The updated guidance balances the burden of quarantine against the possibility of additional spread of COVID-19. With this change it is vital that the community continue to practice social distance of 6ft or more, wear a face covering when outside of their home, and avoid social gatherings. For questions on this change in guidance please visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/quarantine.html.
For information and updates related to COVID-19, visit https://idph.iowa.gov/Emerging-Health-Issues/Novel-Coronavirus and follow IDPH on Facebook(@IowaDepartmentofPublicHealth) and Twitter (@IAPublicHealth).