4 News Now Q&A: What do the CDC’s new quarantine guidelines mean for you?

Q: What do the CDC’s newest quarantine guidelines mean for you?

A: As we’ve learned more and more about COVID-19 throughout this pandemic, the guidelines for how we are supposed to live with it have evolved too.

Take this change, for example: The CDC is revising its guidelines for people who may have been exposed to the virus.

It’s important to note the CDC still recommends quarantining for 14 days as the best way to reduce the spread of COVID-19. But that’s a long time to be out of work — or school — and the CDC acknowledges that 14 days might not be very feasible.

Instead, the CDC now says potential exposure warrants a quarantine of 10 or seven days, depending on your test results and symptoms.

Option 1:

If you do not develop symptoms, you would only need to quarantine for 10 days. A COVID test, in this circumstance, is not required.

Option 2:

If you test negative, that period can be shortened to just one week (seven days).

CDC officials described the decision as data-driven and said it has been under review for weeks. Health officials say most people are infectious within a week of exposure.

“If one is following someone for seven days versus 14, and particularly if you have a negative test, that likely is going to have a much more positive impact than people who say ‘I can’t do 14 days.'” Biden COVID-19 Advisory Board member Michael Osterholm said.

Health officials still want you to watch closely for COVID-19 symptoms — such as fever, a cough or a loss of taste or smell — for a full 14 days after possible exposure.

If you’re still a bit lost in these changing guidelines, you are definitely not alone. We want to navigate them with you. Send us your questions here, and we’ll go to the experts for you.