Health leaders update COVID-19 exposure quarantine times

New guidance on quarantine times

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - New guidance released by the state Friday allows for slightly shorter quarantine times if you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 based on updates from the CDC.

Health leaders maintain 14 days is still the ideal time to quarantine - but new guidance allows for 10 days if certain conditions are met.

“And they will continue to monitor themselves for any symptoms as well as maintain social distancing, respiratory hygiene, and mask use, which should be done anyway, for the remainder of the full 14 days,” said Dr. Karen Landers, Alabama Department of Public Health.

Leaders say the update was because data showed a decreasing risk of illness.

“The percentage of someone developing SARS COVID 2 or COVID-19 was smaller after a full 10 days if the person had no symptoms,” said Dr. Landers, “But we also recognize that it was important to consider that persons had difficulty maintaining that 14 days.”

A smaller percentage - but not 0. So, health leaders say if you choose the shorter time frame - your actions when you leave your home are still extremely important.

The new guidance will be rolled out to schools in a toolkit next week. Some school nurses expressed concern that students who are well are missing important school days and leaders hope this update will help.

“Perhaps not every situation can be adapted to this, but to be able to get students back into the classroom a bit more expediently,” said Dr. Landers.

In that new CDC guidance, states could also consider adopting a 7 day quarantine period with a person testing negative. State leaders say based on our high COVID numbers, we are not ready to implement something like that.

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