CDC considers shortening COVID exposure quarantine time

CDC considers shortening COVID exposure quarantine time
(Source: WBRC)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Doctors have been telling us to go into a two week quarantine if we’re exposed to someone who tested positive for the coronavirus. But the CDC is considering cutting that down to one week.

When the pandemic first began, doctors believed if you were exposed to the infectious disease, it would take about two weeks to see if you developed symptoms. Now, after learning more about the disease and improving tests, that may not be true.

The federal government felt the two week period would help them see if a person developed COVID. Now, the CDC is looking at the latest information to see if that is still necessary.

“People are more likely to attend a ten day quarantine than they would a 14 day quarantine,” said Admiral Brett Giroir, Assistant Secretary for Health.

The Alabama Department of Health believes this change would be beneficial, if it could be done safely.

“A lot of their data comes from football and NCAA data. Where you have student athletes getting exposed frequently and getting tested frequently,” said Alabama Public Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris.

The Jefferson County Department of Health is hopeful there will be enough evidence to support the change.

“Seven days after you were exposed to COVID-19 and you have a negative test. What is the chance you would develop COVID-19 in the next seven days?” Dr. Wesley Willeford said.

But, the key here isn’t just shortening the quarantine, but the opportunity to get continued testing. “It requires testing of some kind and monitoring where someone is checking on that patient daily through the 14 day period, even though no one is actually quarantined,” Harris said.

Health leaders remind you there has not been any change just yet.

“The guidance from the CDC has not officially changed yet. It’s important to follow that 14 day quarantine after exposure,” Willeford said.

Dr. Harris adds he expects they will still miss some positive cases beyond the ten day period.

The CDC is still looking at the information. No decision just yet, but if you choose to get yourself tested multiple times, then you possibly could go to a shorter period if that change is approved.

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