While Minnesota is moving to a recommended 10-day quarantine after close contact, anyone who is able to do so is being asked to quarantine a full 14 days.
ST PAUL, Minn – Minnesota is cutting its COVID-19 quarantine length to accommodate the recent shift by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Last week, the CDC relaxed its quarantine guidelines for those who have had close contact with a COVID-19 case. The new instructions allows people to end the quarantine after 10 days or seven days with a negative test on the fifth day or later.
The CDC continues to advocate a 14-day quarantine. according to his website, but tries to compensate for the “reduced exposure to the low possibility of the virus spreading”.
RELATED: CDC Reduces Quarantine Policy To 10 Days; 7 days with negative test
Walz and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) had to adjust the Minnesota guidelines in light of the change until Walz announced on Monday that the state would join the CDC.
The governor noted that science has advanced since the first outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. He reiterated that 14 days is still the general timeframe that someone exposed to COVID-19 has been observed to pass on.
“Obviously, the longer you would quarantine, the less likely you are to pass it on to someone,” said Walz. “But we’ve found that the chances of you passing it on to others after 10 days are even less.”
Walz said the reduced quarantine time is only a calculated step to enable more people to adhere to the guidelines.
“The science hasn’t changed, it’s just a refinement to make sure we can get higher compliance,” said Walz. “If we could quarantine even more people for 10 days, it would have an impact on the spread of the virus. And the belief here is the intersection between science and people’s ability to adhere to it to keep the virus from spreading to stop.” the virus. “
Walz said Minnesota still recommends “if you are able” to quarantine you for the full 14 days of close contact. But he acknowledged that not everyone can do this easily.
“Quarantining for 14 days sometimes brings a bit of privilege or luxury with it that you can,” said Walz.
The CDC says it has relaxed the quarantine requirement because it “could make quarantine easier for people by reducing the amount of time they cannot work”.
MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm said Monday the CDC’s change would give states the “option” to shorten their quarantine policies. Malcolm said health officials believe there can be a “net gain” from moving into the shorter quarantine and getting more people to adhere to it by cutting down the lower risk days in the end.
“Your risk of infection tends to decrease over 14 days,” said Malcolm. “But it’s not risk-free. … There is still a small risk.”
So it’s important to monitor symptoms for the entire 14 days, Malcolm said.
“Every symptom means you should go back,” said MDH infectious disease director Kris Ehresmann.
Malcolm emphasized that “quarantine” is different from “isolation”. Quarantine is the period of time that a person should stay home after close contact with a COVID-19 case. This is different from the isolation a person should go into if they test positive themselves. Disease isolation guidelines are available on the MDH websiteand these have not changed.
Ehresmann said there are a few circumstances where MDH does not recommend reducing the quarantine period:
- Household exposure
- Congregation living exposition
- If you are a community health worker
- If you are a health worker
Ehresmann made it clear that the rest of the family does not need to be quarantined if a household member has contact with a COVID-19 case. However, if that household member then contracts COVID-19, their family should quarantine the entire 14 days. She also said that MDH was “in dialogue” with health care facilities because the 14-day quarantine made staffing so difficult.
Walz again told Minnesotans that wearing masks is one of the most important things they can do to stop the spread of COVID. He said 72% of Minnesotans report wearing masks when they go out. According to Malcolm, poll data from late September and October shows Minnesotans are better at wearing masks and running errands in public. However, they themselves report that they are less vigilant when meeting with friends and family.
Walz said he would hold a press conference Tuesday to learn more details about Minnesota’s plans to introduce vaccines.