The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has shortened its recommended quarantine guidelines for people who may have been exposed to the coronavirus. The CDC, which had recommended a 14-day quarantine since the start of the pandemic earlier this year, now recommends that people who have been potentially exposed to Covid-19 should quarantine for 10 or seven days, depending on test results and symptoms. 

The CDC says that if individuals do not develop symptoms without testing, they only need to quarantine for 10 days. This period can be shortened to a week after receiving a negative test result. 

On its website, the CDC says that the agency and other scientists “have explored changing the current recommendation to quarantine for 14 days after last exposure. Reducing the length of quarantine may make it easier for people to quarantine by reducing economic hardship if they cannot work during this time. In addition, a shorter quarantine period can lessen stress on the public health system, especially when new infections are rapidly rising.”

Additionally, the CDC says that local public health authorities make the final decisions about how long quarantine should last in the communities they serve, based on local conditions and needs. The agency urges people to follow the recommendations of their local public health department if quarantine is needed.

Read the revised guidelines below: 

CDC now recommends two additional options for how long quarantine should last. Based on local availability of viral testing, for people without symptoms quarantine can end:

  • On day 10 without testing
  • On day 7 after receiving a negative test result

After stopping quarantine, people should

  • Watch for symptoms until 14 days after exposure.
  • If they have symptoms, immediately self-isolate and contact their local public health authority or healthcare provider.
  • Wear a mask, stay at least 6 feet from others, wash their hands, avoid crowds, and take other steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

CDC continues to endorse quarantine for 14 days and recognizes that any quarantine shorter than 14 days balances reduced burden against a small possibility of spreading the virus. CDC will continue to evaluate new information and update recommendations as needed. See Options to Reduce Quarantine for Contacts of Persons with SARS-CoV-2 Infection Using Symptom Monitoring and Diagnostic Testing for guidance on options to reduce quarantine.

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