The Louisiana Department of Health has adopted the CDC’s recently updated guidance that allows people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 to shorten their quarantine period from 14 days to 10 days, or as few as 7 days with a negative test. CDC continues to recommend a quarantine period of 14 days, but now provides two new options to shorten quarantine based on local circumstances and resources.
Quarantine can end after 10 days, on day 11, if no symptoms have been reported during daily monitoring. For the 10-day quarantine, the risk that an individual who is leaving quarantine early could transmit to someone else if they became infected is about 1%, with an upper limit of 10%.
If communities have enough testing resources, quarantine can end after 7 days, on day 8, if the individual takes a COVID test, receives a negative result, and if no symptoms were reported during daily monitoring. Should an individual choose to shorten their quarantine daily symptom monitoring should continue through quarantine day 14.
The existing 14-day quarantine protocol is the “gold standard”; it guarantees maximum reduction of post-quarantine transmission risk and is the strategy with the greatest collective experience at present. The recommendation for a 14-day quarantine was based on estimates of the upper bounds of the COVID-19 incubation period. Quarantine’s importance grew after it was evident that persons are able to transmit COVID before symptoms develop, and that a substantial portion of infected people never develop symptomatic illness but can still transmit the virus.
Quarantine is intended to reduce the risk that infected persons might unknowingly transmit infection to others.