Waukesha County Public Health supports the new quarantine guidelines for asymptomatic close contacts announced last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS). The guidance provides new options to end quarantine early for people who are not having symptoms but were in close contact to someone diagnosed with COVID-19. Waukesha County Public Health will adopt the new guidance effective Wednesday, December 9, 2020. Contact tracing partners, such as schools and employers, may choose to apply the new guidance to asymptomatic quarantines already in progress. The county is working with public health staff and stakeholders to effectively train and implement the new recommendations. Documentation relative to the changes is in the process of being updated.
“Waukesha County still recognizes that the gold standard of quarantining is the full 14 days, yet the fact-based research by the CDC has found there is minimal risk of an asymptomatic close contact to spread the virus after 10 days,” said Benjamen Jones, Waukesha County Health Officer. “Implementation of these new guidelines, however, does not diminish the need for the community to continue to take personal responsibility by wearing a mask, social distancing, and washing hands. Following protocols and guidance based on science will help slow the spread of the virus and get us back to normal.”
This new guidance recognizes the scientific research on quarantine periods of asymptomatic close contacts and acknowledges the economic and mental health hardships that many of these individuals may face if unable to work during their quarantine period. If an individual is able to quarantine for the full 14 days, Waukesha County Public Health continues to recommend that as the superior choice to mitigate community transmission. The new Waukesha County Public Health guidelines allow for asymptomatic close contacts, people who do not develop symptoms, to end their quarantine:
Close contacts must continue to monitor for symptoms for the full 14 days. If they develop symptoms after the end of their quarantine, people should immediately isolate, contact their health care provider, and get tested. Community testing site locations may be found at: www.waukeshacounty.gov/TestingSites