CDC’s new guidance would allow for shortened COVID-19 quarantines

New pandemic quarantine guidelines issued Wednesday, Dec. 2, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would allow those who may have been exposed to COVID-19 to shorten their quarantine period from 14 to seven days with a negative COVID-19 test.

While the CDC continues to recommend a quarantine period of 14 days, the agency now offers two new options, based on local circumstances and resources.

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services has reviewed the updated CDC guidance and supports two options to reduce quarantine for contacts of those with SARS-CoV-2 infection:

  • The first is that quarantine can end after 10 days, on day, 11, without testing if no symptoms have been reported during daily symptom monitoring. These people should still continue to monitor for symptoms for 14 days. If symptoms arise, self-isolate and get tested promptly.
  • DHSS officials also said that if communities have enough testing resources quarantine can end after seven days, on day eight, if the person takes a COVID-19 test and a negative result. The individual needs to stay quarantine until that test results comes back. These individuals should continue to monitor for symptoms for 14 days and get tested promptly if symptoms arise.

According to Alaska’s chief medical officer, Dr. Anne Zink, these changes were made based on data on when people are most likely to test positive and become contagious after close contact with an individual who has tested positive.

Zink said this common-sense approach is based on the most current information available about the virus.