IDPH Punts to Local Health Departments on Implementation of Shortened Quarantine Protocol
Jan 7, 2021
This is an update to our December 3, 2020 Law Alert announcing the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) options to reduce the quarantine protocol for close contacts of a COVID-19 case. As a reminder, the CDC’s shortened quarantine guidelines provide options for 10- or 7-day quarantines as follows:
- 10-Day Quarantine: Close contacts of probable or confirmed cases of COVID-19 may end quarantine after ten (10) days (the last date of exposure is considered Day 0), if they have not experienced any reported COVID-19 symptoms while conducting daily monitoring.
- 7-Day Quarantine: Close contacts of probable or confirmed cases of COVID-19 may end quarantine after seven (7) days if:
- They have not experienced any reported COVID-19 symptoms while conducting daily monitoring; and
- They receive a negative result from a COVID-19 diagnostic test (RT-PCR) taken within 48 hours of when they plan to end quarantine.
Since our last publication, the IDPH now recognizes the optional shortened quarantine guidance, but states that local health departments are responsible for determining and establishing quarantine protocols for their jurisdictions and may decide to continue using a 14-day quarantine period. Notably, the IDPH does not recommend either shortened protocol in congregate living settings with vulnerable populations, such as skilled care and correctional facilities.
Regarding the 7-day quarantine protocol, the IDPH clarifies that the negative result must be from a RT (Reverse Transcript)-PCR test and that the earliest a specimen may be collected for testing would be Day 6, with a quarantine being discontinued on Day 8. As previously noted in our Law Alert, given the 48-hour window and delays in receiving test results, it is possible that an individual would not be able to return on the 8th day.
In connection with the application of the optional shortened quarantine protocols for daycares and schools, earlier this week the IDPH updated its Frequently Asked Questions for Schools and COVID-19 Interim Exclusion Guidance: Decision Tree for Symptomatic Individuals in Pre-K, K-12 Schools and Day Care Programs. The key updates include:
- Local health departments will determine which quarantine options are allowable in their jurisdiction and for schools.
- The 7-day quarantine option may only be used by adult staff (not children or students).
- RT-PCR testing is required for those pursuing the 7-day quarantine option.
- RT-PCR testing is recommended (and may be required by local health departments) for those pursuing the 10-day quarantine option.
- Individuals returning under either reduced quarantine option must be able to always maintain social distancing and masking upon their return to school. Also, daily symptom monitoring should continue.
We recommend contacting your local health department to determine whether it will implement the optional shortened quarantine protocols for close contacts of a COVID-19 case. If not, the 14-day quarantine protocol for close contacts of a COVID-19 case should continue to be adhered to.
Considering the potential variance in protocols between local health departments, the model forms in our supply kits will continue to reference the recommended fourteen (14) day quarantine protocol for close contacts of a COVID-19 case.
For further assistance, please contact any Robbins Schwartz attorney.