Earlier this month, the CDC recommended possible alternatives to the 14-day quarantine period for those who have had “close contact” with individuals who are COVID-19 positive. While affirming that the 14-day quarantine period is still the safest option, the CDC suggested two potential shorter periods for exposed persons who never develop symptoms.
With the first option, a person who never develops symptoms may end their quarantine after 10 days, with no need for testing. Day 0 is defined as the last known or possible exposure to COVID-19. Under this alternative, there is an estimated 1.4% risk of post-quarantine exposure to others, with an upper limit risk of about 10%.
With the second option, a person who never develops symptoms may end their quarantine seven days after receiving a negative COVID-19 test. This test, which can be either a PCR or a rapid test, must be conducted within 48 hours prior to the proposed end of quarantine. This means that for a person to end quarantine on Day 7, they would need to be tested by no earlier than Day 5. Under this alternative, there is an estimated 5% risk of post-quarantine exposure to others, with an upper limit risk of about 12%.
This latest recommendation comes less than two months after the CDC issued a new definition for “close contact,” i.e. when a person is potentially exposed to COVID-19. As we discussed in our previous post, the CDC changed its previous “close contact” definition from 15 minutes of continuous exposure within six feet of an infected person to 15 minutes of cumulative exposure within six feet of an infected person over a 24-hour period of time. This latest recommendation does not change the fact that local public health authorities still have the authority to determine and establish quarantine options for their jurisdictions.
For more information on how the CDC’s recommendations may impact your business, please contact Rob Gilmore (firstname.lastname@example.org; 216.736.7240), Alan Rauss (email@example.com; 216.736.7221), or another member of our Employment Law team by calling 216.696.8700.