On Dec. 2, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued updated Options to Reduce Quarantine for Contacts of Persons with SARS-CoV-2 Infection Using Symptom Monitoring and Diagnostic Testing, modifying the recommended quarantine time for exposed individuals.
Concluding that “local public health authorities determine and establish the quarantine options for their jurisdictions,” the CDC guidance is geared toward local public health departments, not health facilities or other employers.
Following that lead, on Dec. 7, the California Department of Public Health issued a memo to local public health officers adopting the substance of the CDC guidance. Specifically, CDPH advises that:
- All asymptomatic close contacts (less than six feet for at least 15 minutes) may discontinue quarantine after day 10 from the date of last exposure without testing.
- Exposed asymptomatic health care workers may return to work during staffing shortages after day seven from the date of last exposure with a PCR test performed after day five and a negative result.
- After this time, contacts must use surgical face masks at all times during work and continue to use face coverings when outside the home through day 14 after last exposure.
- This approach should not be used by anyone in contact with persons at high risk for severe disease or by those who work in high-risk settings such as skilled-nursing facilities and correctional institutions, unless critical staffing shortages exist.
- All contacts released from quarantine before day 14 must:
- Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms through day 14 and if symptoms occur, immediately self-isolate and contact their local public health department or health care provider and seek testing.
- Adhere strictly to all recommended non-pharmaceutical interventions, including consistent use of face coverings and maintaining a distance of at least six feet from others, through day 14.
Local public health officers are expected to evaluate the guidance and make their own determination as to its applicability in each county. Hospitals should reach out to their local public health officers to determine whether the guidance will be applied to health care personnel.