Clinician Update: Dec. 2020 Tri-County Public Health changes to COVID-19 quarantine period

December 18, 2020

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have offered additional options for quarantine durations for asymptomatic close contacts to COVID-19 patients. Oregon Health Authority has adopted these options and provided local public health authorities with the discretion to make recommendations for their communities.

Attachment: How Long to Quarantine one-pager with graphic

Key points for clinicians

  • We recommend a 14-day quarantine period.

  • If the patient has no symptoms, does not live or work in a long-term care facility or other licensed group setting, and does not live or work with those at risk for serious illness, they can end quarantine after 10 days. Long-term care and licensed group settings include:

    • Long-term care facilities 

    • Adult foster homes 

    • Residential healthcare settings (behavioral health residential treatment centers, facilities for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities)

    • Inpatient healthcare settings (hospitals, inpatient hospice)

  • The 7-day quarantine test-out option is not recommended by Tri-County Public Health officers. 

Key points for clinicians to share with patients

Your quarantine period starts the last day you were in close contact with someone with COVID-19. Close contact means spending at least 15 minutes or more within 6 feet of someone over the course of a day, with or without a mask.

14-day Quarantine (Safest)

We recommend a 14-day quarantine period. Staying home and away from other people for 14 days is the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to others. 

  • You are required to quarantine for 14 days if you live or work in a long-term care facility or other licensed group setting.

  • Quarantine for a full 14-days if someone in your house has COVID-19 or if you live or work with people who are at risk for serious illness from COVID-19.

10-Day Quarantine 

If you have no symptoms, quarantine for at least 10 days. A 14-day quarantine is still best.

After 10 days, your risk of spreading the virus to others goes down. There is still a chance you can get sick and spread COVID-19 to others during days 11-14, even if you felt well on day 10. 

If you end quarantine after 10 days, continue to monitor yourself for symptoms daily for the full 14 days. It is very important to continue to wear a mask, wash your hands often and limit your contact with people you don’t live with.

If you develop symptoms, isolate yourself from others and call your doctor or clinic right away. 

7-day quarantine (not recommended by Tri-County Public Health)

The CDC offers the option to quarantine for 7 days if you have no symptoms and get a test on day 5, 6, or 7 with a negative result. Local public health experts do not recommend this in our region because:

  • there is a higher chance of spreading COVID-19 to people you care about if you end your quarantine after 7 days,

  • there is a high demand for local testing and limited resources, and

  • it can be difficult to time the test just right and get results quickly.

As always thank you for your partnership,

Christina Baumann, MD, MPH, Washington County Health Officer

Ann M Loeffler, MD, Multnomah County Deputy Health Officer

Sarah Present, MD, MPH, Clackamas County Health Officer

Jennifer Vines, MD, MPH, Multnomah County Health Officer