The Centers for Disease Control has updated its guidance to state that COVID-19 quarantines could be reduced to 10 or even 7 days for those who have been exposed to people with the virus.
Since early on in the pandemic, 14 days has been the standard COVID quarantine period following an exposure – defined as being in "close contact" with a COVID-19 positive person – but this has been changed in revised guidance issued by the CDC Wednesday.
While the CDC says that a 14-day quarantine remains the safest option following an exposure and the best way to reduce its spread, the Washington Post reports that by suggesting alternative lengths of 10 days – or 7 days with a negative test – it's hoping to increase compliance among those who fear the loss of work or income by observing a 14-day isolation period.
Under the new guidance, someone can end their quarantine after 10 days if they haven't developed any symptoms, and can stop after seven days if they are asymptomatic and have tested negative for the virus.
This negative test should be collected within 48 hours of the final day of quarantine.
What's more, even if they have ended their quarantine, people are told to continue monitoring symptoms until 14 days after exposure.
It remains to be seen whether Minnesota will adopt these recommendations, with the CDC saying it's up to local public health officials to decide whether to do so.
The Star Tribune reports that the Minnesota Department of Health's director of infectious diseases Kris Ehresmann said it's not a "slam dunk" that Minnesota will do so yet, given the extent of the outbreak right now.
CNBC reports that the CDC's chief medical officer for COVID-response, Dr. John Brooks, said that ending quarantine after 10 days without a negative test leads to a 1% risk of spreading the virus to others, while a 7-day quarantine with a negative test leads to a 5% risk.
If you've tested positive, the CDC guidance is that you can end quarantine 10 days after symptoms first appeared provided you've been fever-free without medication for 24 hours and all other symptoms have improved.
If you've tested positive but are asymptomatic, you must quarantine for 10 days following the positive test.