MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Minnesota Department of Health said they will update their COVID guidances to include new recommendations from the Center for Disease Control, which include options for shorter quarantines.

Since the pandemic began, the CDC has consistently recommended a quarantine period of 14 days for people who were exposed. However last week, they updated their guidance to include options for a 10-day or seven-day quarantine, under certain conditions.

In hopes of getting more people to quarantine, the state says a 10-day quarantine with no symptoms, or a seven-day quarantine coupled with a negative test after five days is acceptable.

But the new guidelines come with a warning: any time someone quarantines for less than 14 days, there are still risks.

“The risk of a person getting infected while they are in quarantine is highest in the earliest days of their quarantine and the risk of people being infected tends to wane after the 14 days goes by,” said Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm.

“The science has not changed; it’s a refinement so that we can get higher compliance so that we can break that spread of transmission,” said Walz.

However, if you go with the shorter quarantine, you need to be extra careful for 14 days.

“You will continue to watch out for symptoms through day 14, you also need to continue to mask, maintain six foot social distance, and follow other prevention guidelines,” said Kris Ehresmann, MDH’s Infectious Disease Director.

Shorter quarantines are not recommended when the exposure is from someone in your own household.

“That is because it’s difficult for household members to quarantine from other household members,” said Ehresmann.

The governor’s current pause that includes bans on indoor restaurant dining, keeping gyms closed, and limiting even small in-home gatherings is set to expire on Dec. 18. Walz says he expects to annouce by the end of the week if he will extend those restrictions through the Christmas and New Years holidays.

On Tuesday, Walz says he will announce Minnesota’s schedule for the roll-out of the very first COVID vaccines.

 

Esme Murphy