LIMA — The Ohio Department of Health has updated its quarantine guidance to allow Ohioans in quarantine who have not developed symptoms and who have not tested positive for coronavirus to leave quarantine after seven to 10 days.
The new guidance comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state health departments try to make the quarantine process easier for people in an effort to increase compliance.
Quarantine is for people who might have been exposed to COVID-19. Isolation, which has not changed, is for people who are sick with the virus.
Ohioans may now stop quarantining after seven days if they have not developed any symptoms associated with COVID-19 and have tested negative. Those who have not been tested but who show no symptoms may stop quarantining after 10 days.
Regardless, a full two-week quarantine is still recommended by the Ohio Department of Health. The longer time period is especially needed for Ohioans who work in long-term care facilities or group homes where the virus poses a higher risk, as well as anyone who works in a setting where they may expose large numbers of people to coronavirus if they are asymptomatic.
Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, chief medical director for the Ohio Department of Health, recommends anyone who plans to cut their quarantine short at 10 days still get tested beforehand to increase certainty that they are not infected.
“We understand that quarantine can be difficult financially, socially and for mental health reasons,” Vanderhoff said on Friday, “but there is no question that it can help us reduce transmission of the disease.”
Vanderhoff said anyone in quarantine should still practice social distancing and wear a mask when around others in the home, and those who leave quarantine early should continue to monitor their symptoms for the full 14-day period and stay home again if they develop symptoms or test positive.