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Guidance revised for quarantine after exposure to COVID-19

LEWISTON - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (IDHW) have provided options to reduce the quarantine period for asymptomatic close contacts of COVID-19 cases.

The recommendation for a 14-day quarantine was based on estimates of the upper bounds of the COVID-19 incubation period. Reducing the length of quarantine will reduce the burden of quarantine on individuals, families, and businesses. However, shortening quarantine risks may be less effective in reducing transmission than the currently recommended 14-day quarantine.

Idaho Guidance

Regardless of strategy, symptom monitoring, masking, hand hygiene, and physical distancing must continue through Day 14.

For contacts that do not live in residential congregate settings*[1] and who are not healthcare workers [2]:

Non-Testing Strategy: Quarantine can end after Day 10 without testing and if no symptoms have been reported during daily monitoring.

Testing Strategy: When diagnostic testing resources and public health capacity are adequate, quarantine can end after Day 7 if a diagnostic specimen tested returns a negative result and no symptoms have been reported during daily monitoring.

  • Testing must be a molecular amplification method (e.g., RT-PCR)
  • The specimen can be collected as early as 5 days after exposure with the exact date of last exposure being Day 0.
  • Quarantine can end only after the negative test result is available, but no earlier than Day 7.


"Self-quarantine" should be considered synonymous with "self-isolation" In Idaho.

*For the purpose of this guidance, colleges and universities with dormitory style housing would not be considered residential congregate settings.

[1] Residential congregate settings are defined as an environment where a group of people reside in close proximity for either a limited or extended period of time and include, but are not limited to such places as long term care facilities, correctional institutions, group homes, rehabilitation facilities. Source: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/more/scientific-brief-options-to-reduce-quarantine.html

[2] Healthcare workers should continue following CDC Interim Guidance.

For more information about COVID-19 please visit www.idahopublichealth.com or call our Public Health Hotline at 1-866-736-6632.

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