Josephine County opts to shorten COVID-19 quarantine duration

Close contacts of a person infected with coronavirus will only have to quarantine for 10 days instead of the previous two-week period.

Posted: Dec 28, 2020 12:39 PM

GRANTS PASS, Ore. — Josephine County Public Health has decided to shorten the mandated quarantine period for close contacts of people who have been infected with coronavirus based on updated guidelines from the CDC, officials announced on Monday.

Contacts will have to quarantine for 10 days instead of the previous 14 days. The change, which comes from county health officer Dr. David Candelaria, reportedly went into effect on December 18.

“Before now, the Oregon Health Authority recommend 14-day quarantine for people with close contact to a COVID-19 case,” Candelaria said. “Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend a change to 10 days. The OHA then amended its recommendation to allow local public health authorities such as Josephine County Public Health to decide whether to accept the new CDC recommendation, which we have.”

For long-term care facilities — including adult foster care, nursing homes, and residential treatment centers — quarantine durations will remain at 14 days per OHA guidance.

A “close contact” is defined as being someone who has spent time within six feet of a COVID-19 case for greater than 14 minutes, or having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case. Josephine County said that those who need to quarantine will be contacted by a contact tracer, but they should not wait for the call to begin quarantining.

The CDC guidance allows an option for those in quarantine to "test out" after seven days, but Dr. Candelaria did not recommend the provision — saying that it would further strain local testing capacity and increase risk of transmission.

“Across the state, counties have variously decided to maintain a 14-day quarantine or to fully adopt CDC recommendation with OHA caveats,” Candelaria said. “I trust this revised Josephine County Public Health position adequately balances the aspects of science, appropriateness and understandability of the pandemic as it currently exists in our community.”

Candelaria said that isolation of those directly infected with COVID-19 remains at 10 days, or 20 days for serious cases, including those hospitalized for the disease.

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