The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), along with other health authorities such as the World Health Organization (WHO), recommend that individuals who may have been in close contact with a case of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), under Quarantine should be placed for 14 days.
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A quarantine period is used to keep someone who may have been exposed to the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causative agent of COVID-19, away from other people. This will help reduce the risk of the virus spreading. Additionally, it helps prevent the virus from spreading before a person knows they are sick or infected.
The CDC is about to issue new guidelines that will reduce the number of days to quarantine close contacts after exposure to an infected person.
The director of the CDC, Dr. Robert Redfield, informed Vice President Mike Pence and members of the Coronavirus Task Force of the White House that the health authority will reduce the number of quarantine days from 14 to about 7 to 10 days.
People can end their quarantine after seven days if they tested negative for the virus or within ten days if they weren’t tested.
In October, the CDC updated its definition of close contact with a COVID-19 patient. In the past, close contacts were those who spent an extended period of time with the infected person. Previously, the CDC stated that if a person is exposed to someone with COVID-19 for 15 minutes, they will be in close contact.
In the new definition, however, close contacts should include multiple and short-term exposures. The total exposure should be 15 minutes spent six feet or near an infected person.
Who needs to be quarantined?
Anyone exposed to a COVID-19 patient must be quarantined, with the exception of those who have been infected in the past three months.
The CDC also noted that those who have recovered from the infection may not need a quarantine period to be tested for up to three months as long as they do not develop symptoms.
Close contacts are people who have been within a meter of someone with COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more. They have also looked after a person who is sick with COVID-19, had direct physical contact with the person through hugging or kissing, eating or drinking utensils together, or being exposed to droplets of breath when an infected person coughed, sneezed, or talked.
People who have been exposed to an infected person are advised to stay home and monitor their health. You should also watch out for COVID-19 symptoms, including a fever, cough, shortness of breath, and loss of smell or taste.
Still, health professionals continue to stress the importance of mitigation strategies to contain the spread of the virus. Regular hand washing, avoidance of crowded places, wearing face masks, and physical distancing can reduce the risk of the spread of COVID-19.
Until a safe and effective vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 is widely available, it is important to follow these guidelines. Many countries have signed the emergency use of developed vaccines that are in the final stages of human studies. For example, the UK plans to start vaccinating efforts in the coming weeks. The country is the first to approve Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, which will be launched next week.
To date, more than 64.36 million SARS-CoV-2 cases have been reported worldwide, with over 1.48 million deaths. The United States reports the highest number of cases with more than 13.9 million, followed by India and Brazil with more than 9.49 million and 6.38 million cases, respectively.