Quarantining for 14 days after exposure to someone with Covid-19 to prevent spreading it often imposes hardships. People are often not able to comply. Since the likelihood of transmitting it decreases with time, the CDC has come up with a shortened quarantine as long as the individual continues to monitor for symptoms for the full 14 days. They also caution against testing on the first day of quarantine which is often what people impulsively do. A negative test that early, while reassuring, dose nothing to predict whether one will get the disease. Testing on day 5 is what is recommended.
The first is the summary from Physicians First Watch followed by links to the CDC’s pages on this as well as Christmas travel advice. They are against the latter and recommend that if you do travel that you get tested before and after travel.
December 2, 2020
CDC Shortens COVID-19 Quarantine Time, Sets New Travel Guidance
By Kelly Young
The CDC has shortened the minimum amount of time people have to quarantine after a potential COVID-19 exposure from 14 days to as few as 7 days.
The new guidance says that people can come out of quarantine after 7 days postexposure if they have no symptoms and have a negative PCR or antigen test result; the specimen for testing may be collected as early day 5. Without a test, people can end their quarantine at 10 days if they still have no symptoms. The agency says that 14 days is still optimal.
“One of our hopes is that we can increase adherence to quarantine if we reduce the amount of time they have to spend [quarantined],” said Dr. Henry Walke, the CDC’s COVID-19 Incident Manager.
In addition, the agency has released new travel guidance in advance of the holidays. In short, the CDC recommends postponing winter travel. But people who do choose to travel should consider getting a COVID-19 test 1–3 days before traveling and another test 3–5 days after traveling. They should limit their nonessential activities for 7 days after travel, even if they test negative. If they do not get tested, nonessential activities should be restricted for 10 days.