Washington state is shortening quarantine and isolation times

Dec 3 2020, 8:10 pm

The Washington State Department of Health (WSDOH) announced Thursday that they have adopted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines to reduce quarantine for those who’ve been exposed to COVID-19.

Although both the Washington State Department of Health and CDC currently recommend a quarantine period of 14 days, certain circumstances will allow those in quarantine to shorten isolation times.

The quarantine period is used to reduce the risk of infected people unknowingly transmit the infection to others. It also ensures that people who become symptomatic during quarantine can be rapidly be tested.

According to WSDOH, quarantine can end after day 10 for a person who is in quarantine and has no symptoms. If a person who is in quarantine receives a negative test and has no symptoms, quarantine can end after seven days. Within 48 hours of ending quarantine, the person in isolation must get a new coronavirus test.

Those who’ve left quarantine early can still transmit the infection to others and must continue monitoring symptoms and wearing masks, though WSDOH says that the chance of transmission is small.

“Both Washington state officials and the CDC recognize that a 14-day quarantine can impose personal burdens that may affect physical and mental health as well as cause economic hardship,” said a press release from the WSDOH. “This change in guidelines is meant to help reduce that burden while continuing to keep our community safe.”

Alyssa TherrienAlyssa Therrien

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