California lifts five-day quarantine rule for people exposed to COVID-19 but not showing symptoms

Photo by Lauren Hernandez

This file photo shows Physician Assistant Frencesca Delprete caring for a driver during COVID-19 testing at the Alemany Farmers Market in San Francisco, Calif., Monday, Nov. 30, 2020.

Carlos Ávila González/The Chronicle

People exposed to other people infected with COVID-19 no longer have to quarantine as long as they show no symptoms of coronavirus, according to updated quarantine guidance released by California public health officials.

Previously, people exposed to COVID-19 were advised to self-quarantine for at least five days after exposure, even if they had no symptoms. Everyone who is exposed, regardless of vaccination status, should be tested within three to five days of their exposure. Close contacts of exposed people should wear masks for 10 days, particularly in closed settings and when around people at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, state public health officials said.

State public health officials also modified the definition of close contact to be someone sharing the “same indoor airspace” with a person infected with COVID-19 for “a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more during a 24-hour period.” ” during the period of infection. infectious period of the person. Indoor airspace can refer to a residence, a hospital waiting room, an airplane and other indoor spaces, officials said.

Officials from the California Department of Public Health updated the guidance on April 6. County and local health jurisdictions may still require stricter quarantine rules.

The updated quarantine guidance does not apply to people who live or work in high-risk settings, including emergency medical services personnel, state health officials said. Those people will continue to follow recommendations set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state health officials said.

“This allows us to continue to protect our most vulnerable populations and the workforce that provides critical services in these settings,” state public health officials said on their web page outlining isolation and quarantine guidelines.

Lauren Hernandez (she/her) is a staff writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: Twitter: @ByLHernandez

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