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Wisconsin DHS now allowing shorter COVID-19 quarantine

Posted at 3:24 PM, Dec 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-04 23:29:57-05

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services is now allowing a shorter quarantine for those who think they have been exposed to the coronavirus.

In tandem with updated guidance from the CDC this week, DHS is now allowing Wisconsin residents to follow a shorter quarantine. People who do not develop COVID-19 symptoms can end their quarantine:

  • After completing day 10 of quarantine without testing.
  • After completing day 7 of quarantine and receiving a negative test result (molecular or antigen) that was collected within 48 hours of the end of quarantine.

If symptoms develop following the end of quarantine, people are asked to immediately isolate, contact their health care provider, and get tested.

The updated guidance in Wisconsin goes into effect Monday, Dec. 7.

"CDC crunched a lot of numbers and tried to estimate what is the residual risk if we shortened it to 10 days, and the result was you could get it down to about 4 or 5 percent, which is riskier than about 1 in per 1,000 or essentially zero," said Dr. Ryan Westergaard, Chief Medical Officer at the DHS Bureau of Communicable Diseases.

"But there are potential benefits of doing it that way. It's much less disruptive for people in communities and employers to do it, so it might be worth accepting some risk. The other thing is that it might be easier to get people in communities to comply with quarantine."

DHS advised a 14-day quarantine is still the safest approach given the virus' incubation period. But a shorter duration may make life easier for Wisconsin residents.

“For many, there may be barriers that make quarantining for a full 14 days extremely challenging,” said DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm in a statement Friday. “While a shorter quarantine carries additional risk of spreading COVID-19, when done responsibly, it can make quarantining easier for more Wisconsinites.”

In a TMJ4 News Twitter poll, 82 percent of respondents did not think the change will encourage compliance while 18 percent think it would.

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Coronavirus in Wisconsin

More data on Wisconsin's vaccination progress here.

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More information: COVID-19 on the Wisconsin DHS website

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