How to shorten your COVID quarantine time after testing positive

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CHICAGO- The director of the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is reminding people that the safest way to celebrate the holidays it to be virtual.

“The negative test does not give you an all clear for ever and ever to gather with friends and family,” explained Dr. Ngozi Ezike, IDPH director.

Dr. Ezike said she anticipates there will be an increase in the people who want to get tested as they prepare for the holidays.

“But remember, unless you quarantine completely after being tested, you could get infected at any time between that test and your intended visit,” stressed Dr. Ezike.

The CDC currently recommends a quarantine period of 14 days. However, Illinois health officials say the following options to shorten quarantine are acceptable alternatives:

  • Quarantine can end after Day 10 without testing and if no symptoms have been reported during daily monitoring. With this strategy, residual post-quarantine transmission risk is estimated to be about 1% with an upper limit of about 10%.
  • Quarantine can end after Day 7 if a diagnostic specimen tests negative and if no symptoms were reported during daily monitoring. The specimen may be collected and tested within 48 hours before the time of planned quarantine discontinuation (e.g., in anticipation of testing delays), but quarantine cannot be discontinued earlier than Day 8. In other words, the earliest they could test would be on Day 6. With this strategy, the residual post-quarantine transmission risk is estimated to be about 5% with an upper limit of about 12%.

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