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New CDC Guidance Shortens Quarantine Period New CDC Guidance Shortens Quarantine Period

New CDC Guidance Shortens Quarantine Period

On December 2, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) issued updated guidance regarding quarantine following exposure to COVID-19. This new guidance directs that state and local departments of health can reduce the period of recommended quarantine following exposure from the current 14 days to either seven or 10 days depending on the circumstances.

If the person who was exposed to COVID-19 is asymptomatic and has not been tested, the quarantine can now be reduced from 14 days to 10 days. If the asymptomatic person is tested and is negative, the quarantine can now end after seven days. This shorter, seven-day period applies only if the test was administered within 48 hours before the end of the quarantine. However, quarantine cannot be discontinued earlier than seven days.

These options will allow many employees to return to work sooner following exposure to a confirmed case than in the past. The most effective method to end the isolation requires that the employee should have the test administered on the fifth day following exposure. Hopefully, the test results will then be available within two days. This timing may not be possible in all locations around the country, but it can bring some welcome relief from a longer quarantine.

Recently, the CDC also reduced the self-isolation period for persons with COVID-19 (or symptoms if not tested) from 14 days to 10 days provided the individual has remained fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and has improved symptoms during that time. Assuming an individual has tested positive or shows all the signs of COVID-19, the individual should self-isolate for 10 days from the date of the first appearance of symptoms and not end self-isolation until that person has been fever-free for 24 hours and shown that symptoms of COVID-19 are improving. The CDC notes that the loss of taste and smell may take longer to resolve, and that alone should not prolong the self-isolation period.

The CDC also said that anyone who has had close contact or been exposed to someone with COVID-19 does not need to self-isolate at all if the following criteria are met:
  • The individual has had COVID-19 within the last 3 months;
  • The individual has recovered from COVID-19; and
  • The individual does not exhibit any symptoms of COVID-19.
In other words, the CDC now provides recovered individuals a three-month “pass” on future self-isolation. The CDC still recommends that all persons continue the use of masks, hand washing/hand sanitizing and social distancing.

Contact any member of the Ice Miller COVID-19 Task Force with any questions related to how this guidance may affect your business.

This publication is intended for general information purposes only and does not and is not intended to constitute legal advice. The reader must consult with legal counsel to determine how laws or decisions discussed herein apply to the reader's specific circumstances.


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