Printable Version - COVID-19 Quarantine Reduced

December 20, 2020

The need for quarantine has been shortened by the CDC and the Delaware Division of Public Health, after exposure to a known case of COVID-19.  Click here:  https://delawarestatenews.net/coronavirus/delaware-adjusting-quarantine-guidelines-for-close-contacts/

 

How long must I quarantine, or isolate?

Regarding quarantine:  there are NEW shorter recommendations.  The CDC and Delaware Division of Public Health now recommend 10 days of quarantine (NOT 14!).  And you can shorten it further to 7 days, if you obtain a negative test on Day 5 since your last exposure, and you continue to be asymptomatic through Day 7.

But:  if any member of your own household has COVID-19, everyone in the house must start counting their quarantine from the LAST DAY of their exposure to the sick person.  Generally, if a child in the house has it, they cannot isolate because they need care.  So, counting the quarantine period cannot even start, until the end of the sick child's 10-day isolation.

Regarding isolation after you have a documented COVID-19 infection, the CDC recommends that you can be around others after:
    10 days since symptoms first appeared and
    24 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
    Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving*

*Loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation?.

NOTE:  Most people do NOT require testing to decide when they can return to work or school, according to the CDC.  The CDC gives the patient's doctor leeway to order a test at the end of the course, but there's NO recommendation for employers to require it.

 

What's the difference between Quarantine and Isolation?

Quarantine” means that if you are exposed, you must stay home (or outdoors well away from others). 

Isolate” means that if you are sick, you must also try to stay away from uninfected household members as well. So you can't share meals, share a bathroom, watch TV in the same room, etc. for 10 days.

 

Here's the CDC's webpages:

Page for the public:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/end-home-isolation.html

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/quarantine.html

     --  Dr. Epstein

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