CDC Issues Relaxed Alternatives to Previous Quarantine Guidelines


By: Margot Parker

Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced new quarantine guidelines for people exposed to Covid-19, reducing the previous two-week quarantine time to seven to ten days in asymptomatic cases.

While a 14-day quarantine is still “the best way to reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19,” the CDC said it is approving “two acceptable alternatives.” First, if a person has not developed any symptoms, their quarantine can end ten days after being exposed to the virus. Further, if the asymptomatic person tests negative for the coronavirus, quarantine can end even sooner at seven days. The CDC notes the sample for the negative test result should be collected within 48 hours of the final quarantine day. 

The CDC’s quarantine recommendations apply to those deemed “close contacts” of Covid-19 patients, defined as someone “who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting from 2 days before illness onset” or who received a positive test result.

The new guidelines are based on CDC models showing a minimal one to five percent risk of spreading the virus to others using seven to ten-day quarantine periods in asymptomatic people. Public health officials believe the shortened alternatives may promote greater compliance among the public while reducing the economic and public health burden caused by a longer quarantine. 

Notably, local health officials can adjust the CDC’s recommendations to fit the situations of their jurisdictions, and the CDC encourages people to monitor their own symptoms for a full 14 days after exposure, regardless of the length of quarantine. 

If you have questions or would like more information, please contact Margot Parker at [email protected].

Additional Information:

FMG has formed a Coronavirus Task Force to provide up-to-the-minute information, strategic advice, and practical solutions for our clients.  Our group is an interdisciplinary team of attorneys who can address the multitude of legal issues arising out of the coronavirus pandemic, including issues related to Healthcare, Product Liability, Tort Liability, Data Privacy, and Cyber and Local Governments.  For more information about the Task Force, click here.

You can also contact your FMG relationship partner or email the team with any questions at [email protected].

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