CDC tweaks coronavirus quarantine guidelines

People can now quarantine for seven or 10 days instead of traditional 14-day period if exposed

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say anyone who gets exposed to the coronavirus can now quarantine for up to seven or 10 days instead of the traditional 14-day measure.

“This will help people who cannot be quarantined for 14 days to be compliant with the recommendation and still prevent the virus from spreading,” Mayo Clinic Health System infectious disease specialist Raj Palraj said.

If someone doesn’t take a test but shows no symptoms, they can end quarantine after 10 days. People can end their quarantine after a week if they don’t have symptoms and test negative.

“(The) majority of the transmission occurs within the first 10 days,” Palraj said.

Palraj thinks the new guidelines are a good idea, but still suggests people quarantine a full two weeks if they get exposed.

“The 14-day measure is probably the safest for the community,” Palraj said.

La Crosse deputy director of human resources Dave Buroker says the guidelines won’t change much of what the city is already doing.

“As far as people coming back to work, again, what we’re going to rely on are our medical professionals,” Buroker said.

That means someone could be in quarantine for seven, 10 or 14 days.

“You know, when is it safe for me to go back to work? And then, they’ll let us know,” Buroker said.

But there is a possibility people can start working again sooner. That will be helpful, especially for small businesses

“I think that everybody is doing what they need to do,” Buroker said.

Palraj says Mayo and other healthcare systems are short of staff right now, which is the last thing they can afford.

“If we can reduce the quarantine period safely, the staff members can come back to work and take care of patients,” Palraj said.

The CDC also says a 10-day quarantine results in up to a 10 percent risk of transmitting the virus to someone else. A person who quarantines for a full week has up to a 12 percent chance of spreading the virus.