CDC Shortens Quarantine Guidance for Close Contacts
Dec 3, 2020
On December 2, 2020, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) published an updated quarantine guidance document titled “Options to Reduce Quarantine for Contacts of Persons with SARS-CoV-2 Infection Using Symptom Monitoring and Diagnostic Testing.” This publication provides guidelines which local health departments may choose to adopt to shorten quarantine protocols for close contacts of a COVID-19 case. It provides options for a 10- or 7-day quarantine (shortened from 14 days) from the date of last contact with the COVID-19 case as follows:
- 10-Day Quarantine: Close contacts of a COVID-19 case may end quarantine after ten (10) days from the date of last contact with the COVID-19 case, without being tested, if they have not experienced any COVID-19 symptoms when conducting daily monitoring.
- 7-Day Quarantine: Close contacts of a COVID-19 case may end quarantine after seven (7) days from the date of last contact with the COVID-19 case if:
- They have not experienced any COVID-19 symptoms while conducting daily monitoring; and
- They receive a negative result from a COVID-19 diagnostic test (RT-PCR or antigen test) taken within 48 hours of when they plan to end quarantine. Note that given the 48 hour window and delays in receiving test results, it is possible that an individual would not be able to return after 7 days.
While the CDC provides options to shorten the quarantine protocol for close contacts, it also notes in the same document that fourteen (14) days remains the most effective period for quarantine following close contact with a COVID-19 case.
At present, the Illinois Department of Public Health (“IDPH”) continues to recommend a fourteen (14) day quarantine for close contacts of a COVID-19 case. We will continue to monitor guidance published by IDPH and inform our Robbins Schwartz community if IDPH adopts the CDC’s shortened quarantine protocols for close contacts. In the meantime, we recommend contacting your local health department about whether they plan to adopt the shortened quarantine options. If so, we also recommend consulting with legal counsel before implementing a shortened quarantine protocol given the IDPH’s present position on this subject.
Considering the potential variance in protocols, our return to campus/work flowchart following a COVID-19 absence and the model forms in our supply kits for school districts and institutions of higher education will continue to reference the recommended fourteen (14) day quarantine.
For further assistance, please contact any Robbins Schwartz attorney.