MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Alabama Department of Public Health officials say they are reviewing the current 14-day home quarantine for people possibly exposed to COVID-19 and making changes to allow for a reduced quarantine period in some cases.
The CDC recommended two additional options for quarantine and asked states to review their COVID-19 situations. The CDC’s new guidelines would allow those who were in contact with someone infected to quarantine for 10 days, or seven days if they receive a negative test, in certain circumstances.
The CDC says 14 days remains the optimal time for home quarantine, as the time frame “covers the broad range of the incubation period for COVID-19.”
ADPH officials say they’re working to make changes needed to allow the release of anyone from quarantine at 10 days under certain conditions identified in the CDC’s recommendations. The conditions include no COVID-related symptoms, daily self-monitoring for symptoms, and consistent social distancing and mask wearing.
Even if excused from the 14-day quarantine, people will still need to use extreme caution regarding monitoring symptoms for the full two weeks and “practice mitigation strategies within and beyond the quarantine period.”
ADPH officials said home quarantine for residents of long-term care and correctional facilities will not change from the 14-day requirement.
Health officials are encouraging everyone to stay home when possible, practice social distancing and wear masks when they are out.
ADPH officials expect to have any changes to current processes finalized before Dec. 11.
Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said that at this time it is not possible for the ADPH to decrease the home quarantine period to seven days for people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 because of the state’s high case numbers and “disparity in testing resources among different parts of our state.”
“We should not knowingly increase the percentage of possibly infectious asymptomatic persons out and about. Even though there is hope that our first doses of COVID-19 vaccine may arrive in the next two weeks, we are still months away from having enough vaccine to protect everyone. So, ADPH continues to encourage every Alabamian to stay home when possible, and to practice social distancing and wear masks when they must be out. Please protect the most vulnerable people in our state by doing the right things,” Harris said.