The CDC generally recommends a 14-day quarantine for people who may have been exposed to COVID-19. A study from the Yale School of Public Health said that time could be cut in half — but only with well-timed testing.
Jeffrey Townsend is with the Yale School of Public Health. He and his team studied workers who quarantined before going back to work on oil rigs.
“And it sounds like a very specialized sort of thing, this oil rig situation. But actually it’s just like the problem that we’re facing if we’re going to visit our elderly aunts and uncles or our elderly parents,” Townsend said.
Turns out those oil rig workers could go back to work in as little as seven days — as long as they got tested just before the seven-day mark.
“Day five, six or seven … And that should give you about the same protection as a 14-day quarantine. And that’s a tremendously useful tool in terms of it being very difficult for many people to take two weeks off from work,” Townsend said.
The CDC has already taken notice. When Yale announced its preliminary findings in December, the institute updated its COVID-19 advisory to allow quarantines to end after 10 days in some situations.
“That discovery that you could shorten the quarantine considerably was I think a motivation on the CDC’s part to try to ease the load or burden of individuals who have been identified as needing to be quarantined,” Townsend said.
Townsend said he hopes the new Biden administration uses these findings in crafting a new national policy on COVID-19 quarantine rules.