CDC updates COVID-19 quarantine guidelines

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The CDC updated its coronavirus guidelines Wednesday, saying the quarantine time after someone has been exposed to COVID-19 can be shortened.

They still say it's best to quarantine 14 days, however, based on research there are now shorter options.

If exposed and no symptoms, with a negative COVID-19 test, quarantine can be cut to 7 days. With no test, but also no symptoms, it can be cut to ten days.

Officials on a telebriefing said there's still a small, but acceptable risk.

People should still monitor for symptoms the entire14 days, but they hope a shorter quarantine time will lead to better compliance.

"Reducing the length of quarantine makes it easier for people to take this public health action by reducing the economic impact associated with a longer period," said Dr. Henry Walke.

The recommendations are sent to state and local health departments.

Philadelphia health officials confirm they will follow this new CDC guidance immediately.

Dr. Robert Redfield, Director of the CDC, also sounded the alarm as we head into the winter months.

"December and January and February are going to be rough times, I actually believe they're going to be the most difficult time in the public health history of this nation, largely because of the stress it's going to put on our healthcare system," he said.

As for holiday travel, it's safer to postpone and stay home.

If you do travel, the CDC recommends testing one to three days before, and three to five days after.

"And I just want to point out testing does not eliminate all risk but when combined with reducing non-essential activity, symptom surveillance, other precautions such as wearing a mask and social distancing it can make travel safer," said Dr. Carol Friedman.
Copyright © 2021 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.