Breaking News – new CDC guidelines offer even more options to end your COVID quarantine early. (see below)
No one likes the idea of spending fourteen days in quarantine after being exposed to someone with COVID…
But that’s better than getting sick and exposing others to COVID, right?
Can You End Your COVID-19 Quarantine Early?
Does spending less time in quarantine sound better?
What if you just get a COVID test?
Unfortunately, if you have a negative COVID-19 test early in your quarantine period, it doesn’t mean that you can’t develop symptoms or test positive later on.
“If you are tested and the test is negative, do you still have to be quarantined?Coronavirus Questions and Answers
Yes. Someone exposed to a person with COVID-19 needs a 14-day quarantine regardless of test results. This is because COVID-19 can develop between two and 14 days after an exposure.”
Testing negative early doesn’t get you out of quarantine.
A negative test simply means that you don’t have an active infection. It doesn’t mean that the SARS-CoV-2 virus isn’t still incubating inside you. And no, we can’t test for that.
So why get tested?
“If you do not have symptoms, it is best to get tested between 5-7 days after you’ve been in a high-risk situation. If your test is negative, get tested again around 12 days after the event. It can take 2-14 days for COVID-19 to develop, so even if you test negative once, you could still develop COVID-19 later and spread it unknowingly.”Symptoms and Testing: COVID-19
Getting tested can be helpful because some people can test positive even if they don’t have symptoms, they can still be contagious, and this can help with contact tracing and can help you warn others that you exposed them to COVID-19.
Ideally, since you are in quarantine, you would not have exposed anyone else though…
And if you test positive?
New Options to End COVID Quarantine Early
And although it is not without risk, the CDC has suggested several alternatives to the traditional 14 quarantine after being exposed to someone with COVID-19.
This includes ending quarantine after day 7 if you have tested negative within 48 hours and you have no symptoms, understanding that you will have to continue to wear a mask, monitor yourself for symptoms each day, and that this strategy has a 5-12% risk of failure (you might still develop COVID-19).
“Persons can continue to be quarantined for 14 days without testing per existing recommendations. This option maximally reduces risk of post-quarantine transmission risk and is the strategy with the greatest collective experience at present.”Options to Reduce Quarantine for Contacts of Persons with SARS-CoV-2 Infection Using Symptom Monitoring and Diagnostic Testing
Or even ending quarantine after day 10 without testing if you have no symptoms, understanding that you will have to continue to wear a mask and monitor yourself for symptoms each day, and be aware that this strategy has a 1-10% risk of failure (you might still develop COVID-19).
The Latest Options to End COVID Quarantine Early
The CDC has now offered guidelines to end quarantine even earlier than 7 days!
Even if you are not fully vaccinated and boosted, after 5 days, you might be able to end your quarantine, as long as you continue to wear a mask for an additional 5 days. And of course, get tested if you do develop any symptoms of COVID.
And remember that 14 days of quarantine is still the safest option. While convenient, shorting quarantine periods do come with some risk that these folks will develop COVID after they leave quarantine.
Most importantly, understand that you don’t have to quarantine after an exposure if you are fully vaccinated and boosted!
More on Testing out of Quarantine
- 7 Things to Know About COVID-19
- What to Do if You Have Been Exposed to COVID-19
- What to Do if You Have Been Diagnosed with COVID-19
- Returning to Sports After Having COVID-19
- Going Back to School During the COVID-19 Pandemic
- CDC – CDC Updates and Shortens Recommended Isolation and Quarantine Period for General Population
- CDC – When to Quarantine
- CDC – Options to Reduce Quarantine for Contacts of Persons with SARS-CoV-2 Infection Using Symptom Monitoring and Diagnostic Testing
- Coronavirus Questions and Answers
- Who Should Get Tested for COVID-19
- Protect Yourself & Others: COVID-19
- Symptoms and Testing: COVID-19
Last Updated on January 5, 2022 by Vincent Iannelli, MD