Coronavirus: CDC shortens quarantine guidance to 7-10 days

If you’ve been in close contact with somebody contagious with the coronavirus, your quarantine could last as short as one week under newly announced guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Paired with a negative test, a person who shows no symptoms can exit quarantine after seven days, officials said Wednesday morning, and anyone who hasn’t been tested and doesn’t show symptoms for 10 days is free to leave home again.
The new guidelines are meant to serve as an “acceptable alternative” for local health authorities, in the hopes of increasing compliance in the crucial mitigation measure, officials said during a briefing Wednesday morning. However, the CDC still advises using the full two-week period to reduce the most potential risk. In Santa Clara and Los Angeles counties, which have enacted their own mandatory quarantines for incoming travelers, the two-week time period remains in effect.
The longstanding recommendation of two weeks reflects the known incubation period of the virus, but studies have shown infected patients are at their most contagious within the first week.
“We can safely reduce the length of quarantine, while accepting there is a small residual risk that a person who is leaving quarantine early could transmit to someone else if they became infectious,” said Dr. John Brooks, the CDC’s chief medical officer for the COVID-19 response.
Scientists inside and outside of the CDC used models to determine that residual risk to be about 1%, with an upper limit of 12%, for the 10-day quarantine period. For the seven-day period, with a negative test within 48 hours of being released from quarantine, they determined the risk to be about 5%, with an upper limit of 10%.
The CDC also advised Americans against traveling this holiday season but released new guidance on how to best use testing to do so safely.
Travelers should take a test one to three days prior to their trip, then again between three and five days after returning, officials said. And after returning, stop all nonessential activities for seven days.

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