The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention has released new COVID-19 quarantine guidance, calling for individuals who come into close contact with a positive case to quarantine for 10 days rather than 14.
Working with the Florida Department of Health in Polk County, Polk County Public Schools will begin implementing this change on Dec. 8.
A “close contact” is defined as those who have been within six feet of an infected individual for 15 cumulative minutes during a 24-hour period, regardless of mask usage.
In its recently released scientific brief, the CDC continues to recommend that close contacts quarantine for 14 days. However, the agency also included additional options for close contacts who are asymptomatic.
Those options include:
1.) If an asymptomatic close contact receives a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test on Day 6 or later of his/her quarantine, the quarantine period may end after the completion of Day 7.
2.) Without testing, asymptomatic close contacts may end their quarantine after the completion of Day 10.
In both scenarios, individuals must use a face covering, practice social distancing and proper hand hygiene, and self-monitor their symptoms through Day 14.
After reviewing the changes from the CDC, the Florida Department of Health in Polk County is recommending that PCPS reduce the quarantine period from 14 days to 10 days for asymptomatic individuals who have come into close contact with a positive case. This change will allow students to return to the classroom and employees to return to their work sites more quickly.
However, at this time, the Florida Department of Health in Polk County is not recommending that PCPS implement a seven-day quarantine with a negative PCR test. This option will present operational and logistical challenges that will take time to address.
“We are working together to address these needs and we will update our community when we are able to do so,” said PCPS Deputy Superintendent John Hill.
Over the next several days, PCPS COVID-19 call center employees will contact individuals currently on quarantine to advise them of their options for returning to work or school.
The CDC has not made any changes to its guidance for those who test positive. Positive individuals must self-isolate for at least 10 days. After 10 days, the self-isolation period can end when individuals are fever-free without medication for 24 hours and their symptoms are improving.
For more information, please contact the PCPS COVID-19 call center at 863-298-5206, or the FDOH Polk office at 863-519-7911.