DHSS Press Release: CDC provides new guidance that allows for shortened COVID-19 quarantines

Dec. 2, 2020 ANCHORAGE — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revised their quarantine guidance today to allow people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 to shorten their quarantine period from 14 days to as few as 7 days with a negative COVID-19 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. The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services has reviewed the updated CDC guidance and supports the following options to reduce quarantine for contacts of persons with SARS-CoV-2 infection:

  • Quarantine can end after 10 days, on day 11, without testing if no symptoms have been reported during daily symptom monitoring. People should continue to monitor for symptoms for 14 days; if symptoms arise, self-isolate and get tested promptly.
  • If communities have enough testing resources, quarantine can end after 7 days, on day 8, if the person takes a COVID-19 test and receives a negative result. The specimen may be collected within 48 hours prior to discontinuation of quarantine. The person needs to stay in quarantine until their test result comes back. Quarantine cannot be discontinued earlier than day 8, even if the test result comes back earlier. People should continue to monitor for symptoms for 14 days; if symptoms arise, self-isolate and get tested promptly.

“These changes were made based on data on when people are most likely to test positive and become contagious after close contact with an individual who has tested positive,” said Alaska’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink. “This is a common-sense approach based on the most current information we have about this disease. These shortened quarantine options will continue to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 while easing the burden on those who must quarantine. This new guidance will help Alaskans successfully complete their quarantine requirements.”

DHSS will be updating information on their website and in other outreach materials to reflect this revised guidance. Because of the large volume of information, this may take several days.

Read the CDC guidance: Options to Reduce Quarantine for Contacts of Persons with SARS-CoV-2 Infection Using Symptom Monitoring and Diagnostic Testing

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