The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has officially shortened the recommended length for COVID-19 quarantine.

According to CNN, the length of time in which someone has to quarantine is being changed by the CDC. Previously, the CDC recommended that anyone who tested positive for COVID-19 or had exposure to COVDI-19 quarantined for 14 days. Now, the CDC is saying that can be shortened in some cases.

On Wednesday, December 2, the CDC announced that quarantine periods can be as short as seven to 10 days for certain people. However, they still say that quarantining for 14 days is the safest. CNN reports that the CDC now recommends that people can leave quarantine after 10 days without taking a test if they do not develop any symptoms within those 10 days after exposure to COVID-19. The quarantine can end after seven days if a person tests negative and no symptoms have developed within seven days after exposure.

This is the exact message from the CDC's website, as of the time of this article's writing on December 3, 2020:

Local public health authorities determine and establish the quarantine options for their jurisdictions. CDC currently recommends a quarantine period of 14 days. However, based on local circumstances and resources, the following options to shorten quarantine are acceptable alternatives.

  • 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%.

In both cases, additional criteria (e.g., continued symptom monitoring and masking through Day 14) must be met and are outlined in the full text.

As stated previously, the CDC still recommends a quarantine period of 14 days for the safest option. You can find more information regarding quarantine rules and recommendations from the CDC here.

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