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For months, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) had recommended a quarantine period of 14 days for people exposed to someone with COVID-19. Quarantine is one of several public health tools used to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 to others. This guidance was based on evidence showing that close contacts can develop a COVID-19 infection as many as 14 days after being exposed.

Last week, the CDC announced an update to that long-standing guidance that includes options for 10-day or seven-day quarantines under certain conditions.

The safest option is to stay away from others for 14 days.

  • In certain situations, quarantine may end after 10 days, or after seven days with a negative COVID-19 test result.
  • Quarantine cannot end before seven days for any reason.
  • Some work settings, like health care, have different rules about quarantine. Check with your employer.

You should stay away from others for 14 days if:

  • Someone in your home has COVID-19.
  • You live in a building with other people, where it’s hard to stay away from others and easy to spread the virus to multiple people, like a long-term care facility.

You may consider being around others after 10 days if:

  • You do not have any symptoms.
  • You have not had a positive test for COVID-19.
  • No one in your home has COVID-19, and you do not live in a building with other people, where it’s hard to stay away from others and easy to spread the virus to multiple people, like a long-term care facility.

Even after 10 days you must still:

  • Watch for symptoms through day 14. If you have any symptoms, stay home, separate yourself from others, and get tested right away.
  • Continue to wear a mask and stay at least 6 feet away from other people.

 You may consider being around others after seven days only if:

  • You get tested for COVID-19 at least five full days after you had close contact with someone with COVID-19, and the test is negative.
  • You do not have any symptoms.
  • You have not had a positive test for COVID-19.
  • No one in your home has COVID-19, and you do not live in a building with other people, where it’s hard to stay away from others and easy to spread the virus to multiple people, like a long-term care facility.

Even after seven days you must still:

  • Watch for symptoms through day 14. If you have any symptoms, stay home, separate yourself from others, and get tested right away.
  • Continue to wear a mask and stay at least 6 feet away from other people.

You cannot end your quarantine before seven days for any reason.

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