The Baker County Health Department has adopted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s option for shortening the quarantine time for most contacts of positive COVID-19 cases from 14 days to 10. If a close contact doesn’t develop symptoms after 10 days of quarantine, they will be able to return to school, work and other activities on the 11th day. The change to quarantine time is based on research that shows the likelihood of a close contact contracting or spreading COVID-19 after day 10 is very low.
Under the new quarantine protocol:
- The shortened quarantine is for those without symptoms. Testing is recommended for close contacts that develop symptoms.
- All close contacts will still monitor for symptoms for 14 days.
- Fully vaccinated individuals (individuals who are two weeks after their second dose of vaccine or single dose of Johnson & Johnson) do not need to quarantine unless they have symptoms.
- This shortened quarantine does not apply to residents and patients of long-term care facilities, adult family/foster homes, residential healthcare settings, inpatient health care settings or correction facilities. If the spread of COVID-19 significantly increases in school, the 14 day quarantine may be reinstated for children.
The Health Department has received a number of inquiries about another option provided by CDC for ending quarantine periods early based on a negative result from a PCR test on days 5-7. Currently, there isn’t enough laboratory capacity to return PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests in a timely manner that would allow people to use this option effectively. Rapid tests are not accurate for individuals who don’t have symptoms.
The goal continues to be keeping our community healthy, reducing strain on our hospital and keeping our children in school. This can be accomplished by limiting the spread of COVID-19. Proven tactics that limit the spread of COVID-19 include vaccination, social distancing, wearing masks, staying home when sick, isolating positive cases, quarantining close contacts, keeping surfaces clean and washing hands. The Health Department reminds parents and caregivers to monitor children for symptoms before sending them to school.
Vaccines are available at local pharmacies, doctor’s offices and the Baker County Health Department. Currently, Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson are available. General information about quarantine and isolation is available on the CDC website.