In advance of the December holiday season, the CDC has issued a revised guidance on recommended quarantine periods.

The revised guidance provides shortened quarantine periods for individuals who have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19. While the CDC maintains that the 14-day quarantine period provides greater protection for reducing transmission of the coronavirus, the agency has now provided two shorter options, which it says are designed to help alleviate the personal economic hardship associated with the extended quarantine period.

Pursuant to the guidance, individuals who do not develop symptoms may quarantine for only ten (10) days. This quarantine period can be further reduced to seven (7) days if the asymptomatic individual receives a negative test (PCR or antigen) result from a sample collected within 48 hours of the final day of quarantine. The guidance makes clear that testing should be considered only when diagnostic testing resources are sufficient and available. In addition, the agency cautions that after the quarantine period ends, individuals should continue to self-monitor for symptoms until 14 days after close contact and should continue to adhere to mitigation measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as wearing a mask, social distancing and avoiding crowds.

Finally, the CDC explicitly reminded that state and local public health authorities determine the quarantine options applicable in their jurisdictions.  Accordingly, employers must review any state or local guidelines before changing current protocols.