COVID-19 quarantine time to be shortened by the CDC

November 25, 2020

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are planning to recommend a shorter length of quarantine for people exposed to COVID-19.

    NBC News reports that the agency is finalizing plans to change the length of recommended quarantine after weeks of review, and that testing will likely be incorporated into the updated approach.

    A spokesperson for the agency said that the CDC “is always reviewing its guidance and recommendations in the light of new understandings of the virus that causes COVID-19,” though the updated length of time has not been released.

    However, in October Dr. Robert Redfield, Director of the CDC, said in a briefing that researchers were investigating if testing during the quarantine period could “determine if you can shorten the quarantine to seven or 10 days.”

    The former head of the CDC, Dr. Tom Frieden, said that the quarantine period needs to be optimized. “We know that the biggest risk is from days four to seven,” he shared, noting that the risk of transmission is lower after that timeframe.

    “Obviously we don’t want people to be quarantined 14 days unnecessarily,” said Redfield.

    Earlier this month, the CDC updated its international travel guidance, suggesting that travelers could “get tested three to five days after travel and stay home for seven days after travel.” It clarified that without a test, travelers are advised to stay home for the full 14-day quarantine period, but if they have a negative test, they can “stay home for the full seven days” instead.

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