New CDC Quarantine Guidelines for 7-10 Days

The risks and our understanding of the disease have not changed. The gold standard and the safest way to quarantine is to complete the full 14 days.

The CDC is essentially gambling that if the guidelines are less onerous, more people will comply and this will lead to overall safer public health.

The exact risks for shorter quarantines are detailed by the CDC in the information below.

  1. CDC recommends the following alternative options to a 14-day quarantine:
    • Quarantine can end after Day 10 without testing and if no symptoms have been reported during daily monitoring.
      • With this strategy, residual post-quarantine transmission risk is estimated to be about 1% with an upper limit of about 10%.
    • When diagnostic testing resources are sufficient and available (see bullet 3, below), then quarantine can end after Day 7 if a diagnostic specimen tests negative and if no symptoms were reported during daily monitoring. The specimen may be collected and tested within 48 hours before the time of planned quarantine discontinuation (e.g., in anticipation of testing delays), but quarantine cannot be discontinued earlier than after Day 7.
      • With this strategy, the residual post-quarantine transmission risk is estimated to be about 5% with an upper limit of about 12%.
  2. Persons can discontinue quarantine at these time points only if the following criteria are also met:
    • No clinical evidence of COVID-19 has been elicited by daily symptom monitoring during the entirety of quarantine up to the time at which quarantine is discontinued; and,
    • Daily symptom monitoring continues through quarantine Day 14; and,
    • Persons are counseled regarding the need to adhere strictly through quarantine Day 14 to all recommended non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs±, a.k.a. mitigation strategies), especially. They should be advised that if any symptoms develop, they should immediately self-isolate and contact the local public health authority or their healthcare provider to report this change in clinical status.
  3. Testing for the purpose of earlier discontinuation of quarantine should be considered only if it will have no impact on community diagnostic testing. Testing of persons seeking evaluation for infection must be prioritized.
  4. Persons can continue to be quarantined for 14 days without testing per existing recommendations. This option maximally reduces risk of post-quarantine transmission risk and is the strategy with the greatest collective experience at present.