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Department of Health Reduces Recommended COVID-19 Quarantine Period

Last updated: July 20, 2021

Lessens Burden on Households, Economy, Contact Tracing, Health Care System

Annapolis (Dec. 8, 2020) – The Anne Arundel County Department of Health has announced that it is reducing the recommended 14 day quarantine period of those who have been exposed to COVID-19. This recommendation should help improve compliance without significantly increasing the risk of transmission in the community. Quarantine can end after Day 10 without testing and if no symptoms have been reported during daily monitoring. If the quarantined person tests negative after day 5 and remains symptom free, the individual can be released from quarantine after 7 days.

The updated quarantine guidance is based on recommendations issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week. The previous 14-day quarantine period was based on the full incubation period of the virus. After 7 days with a negative test or 10 days without testing, and with continued precautions, the risk of transmission is low enough to allow resumption of routine activities. Giving people the option to reduce the length of quarantine allows people experiencing economic hardship to safely return to work earlier than before. Additionally, the prospect of a shorter quarantine will encourage people with a new diagnosis to share contacts and for those contacts to quarantine.

However, a 14-day quarantine can impose personal and family challenges as well as cause economic hardship for those unable to return to work. Implementing quarantines can also pose additional burdens on public health systems and communities, especially during periods when new infections and the number of contacts needing to quarantine are rapidly rising. The prospect of a 2-week quarantine may dissuade recently diagnosed people from naming contacts and may dissuade contacts from responding to contact tracer outreach if they perceive the length of quarantine as prohibitive.

“This updated guidance allows us to control the spread of the virus while safely reducing the personal burden of quarantines on county residents,” said Anne Arundel County Health Officer Nilesh Kalyanaraman, M.D. “The Department of Health will continue to provide case management and support to anyone needing assistance to isolate or quarantine, regardless of the length of quarantine.”

The updated guidance for 10-day quarantines comes with certain stipulations:

  • It does not apply to those residing in congregate settings such as long-term care facilities, group care homes, assisted living facilities, correctional facilities, shelters, residential rehabilitation and treatment settings, or military recruit housing.
  • Those who are in quarantine must remain COVID-19 symptom free up to the time quarantine is discontinued.
  • Daily symptom self-monitoring must continue through day 14; those who develop symptoms within this time period should seek testing and self-isolate while awaiting results.

Close contacts of those exposed to COVID-19 are advised to adhere to mitigation strategies:

  • Correct and consistent mask use
  • Physical distancing
  • Hand and cough hygiene
  • Avoiding crowds
  • Environmental cleaning and disinfection
  • Ensuring adequate indoor ventilation

The new quarantine guidance does not modify any travel quarantine advisory provided by the Maryland Department of Health related to the COVID-19.

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