The Centers for Disease Control has released options to reduce quarantine for contacts of persons with COVID-19 using symptoms monitoring and diagnostic testing. The new guidelines for quarantine options shorter than 14 days balance reduced burden against a small but non-zero risk of post-quarantine infection that is informed by new and emerging science.
Quarantine for 14 full days after the time of exposure remains the safest strategy for preventing asymptomatic transmission of SARS-CoV-2, as the incubation period for the COVID-19 virus is 2- 14 days.
WI DHS and Sheboygan County Division of Public Health has implemented the following alternative strategies for reduced quarantine beginning Monday, December 7, 2020. These two alternative strategies for discontinuation of quarantine include:
Quarantine can end after Day 10 without testing, if no symptoms have been reported during daily monitoring.
Quarantine can end after Day 7 if the result of a diagnostic COVID-19 test is negative and if no symptoms were reported during daily monitoring. The test specimen may be collected and tested within 48 hours before the time of planned quarantine discontinuation but quarantine cannot be discontinued earlier than after Day 7. A pending test result on day 7 is not sufficient to end quarantine early. The test can be either a rapid-antigen or PCR type test (the PCR is preferred).
For these two alternative strategies to be acceptable, the following conditions must be met:
● Daily symptom monitoring must continue for all individuals in quarantine through Day 14.
● No clinical evidence of COVID-19 has been elicited by daily symptom monitoring during the entire period prior to the end of quarantine.
● Persons must be advised that if symptoms develop at any time, they should immediately self-isolate and contact the local public health authority or their healthcare provider to report this change in clinical status.
● Persons must be counseled regarding the need to adhere strictly to all recommended non-pharmaceutical interventions, (i.e., consistent mask use, social distancing, and avoiding gatherings) for the full 14 days after exposure.