Special to Atmore News
The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) announces that the length of home quarantine for people with expected close contacts to COVID-19 cases can end after the tenth day for some individuals without testing, provided they have experienced no symptoms during the daily required monitoring period and they follow the additional requirements. The change was effective December 11.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) asked states to review their COVID-19 situations, including their ability to handle an increase in demand for SARS-CoV-2 testing, to consider reducing the length of home quarantine. The CDC offered states the option of ending quarantine after seven days with testing, but ADPH determined this option is not feasible at this time due to a number of factors that include significant community spread that is not adequately mitigated, high case numbers, the increasing COVID-19 positivity rate in Alabama, and disparities and shortages in testing availability in areas of the state.
State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris noted that ADPH will continue to monitor the situation and evaluate whether it may eventually be feasible to adopt an option to shorten the quarantine period to seven days after an individual receives a negative COVID-19 test. The Alabama State Health Officer establishes state quarantine and isolation requirements.
In cases in which the 10-day option is taken, quarantined people must follow these additional requirements:
- Daily symptom monitoring must not show any clinical evidence of COVID-19 throughout the full 10 days of quarantine.
- Daily symptom monitoring past 10 days must continue through quarantine Day 14; and,
- Persons must strictly adhere to all recommended non-pharmaceutical interventions through quarantine Day 14. They must immediately self-isolate and contact their local public health department or healthcare provider to report if symptoms develop at any time after their last known exposure, and testing should be considered with any of the following symptoms: Fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea.
Health officials caution that the 10-day quarantine option is not without risk, and a 14-day quarantine is optimal. That is because the residual post-quarantine transmission risk of infection and transmission of COVID-19 is estimated to be between 1 and 10 percent when quarantine ends after Day 10. Quarantine requirements for residents of long-term care and correctional facilities will not change from the current 14-day period.
With the upcoming holiday period, ADPH asks Alabama residents to continue consistent social distancing, mask wearing, hand hygiene and surface cleaning. Unnecessary travel and gatherings beyond one’s household should be avoided, especially by people over age 65 and those who have significant health conditions.
For additional information concerning the CDC’s quarantine guidance, please go to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/quarantine.html.