OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Health is adopting the new guidelines to reduce quarantine times for people who have been exposed to COVID-19 recommended by the Centers for Disease Control. Although both the CDC and DOH currently recommend a quarantine period of 14 days, there are circumstances that allowed for a shortened time.
If a person in quarantine has no symptoms, it can end after the 10th day. Also, if a person who is quarantined receives a negative COVID-19 test and has no symptoms, the quarantine can end after the seventh day. The test should occur within 48 hours before ending the quarantine.
A small chance exists that people who shorten their quarantine periods may transmit the infection to others. Therefore both agencies consider it critical that the person continues to monitor symptoms and wear a mask through the 14th day. If symptoms do develop, those people should immediately isolate themselves and get tested. The change in guidelines is meant to help reduce the burden a 14-day quarantine can impose on a person’s physical and mental health, as well as the economic hardship.
The recommendations are based on the best information available. Both agencies state they will continue to closely monitor the evolving science for information that would arrant reconsideration of the recommendations.