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St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - Minnesota health officials have updated their guidance for COVID-19 quarantines based on some new recommendations from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The updated guidance shortens the quarantine period to 10 days in situations where a person has not tested positive for the new virus and does not have any new symptoms after exposure to someone with COVID-19. Those individuals will need to continue wearing masks and maintain at least six feet of distance from others while also watching out for possible symptoms all the way until day 14 after their exposure. Those individuals would also have to get tested as soon as possible if they develop any symptoms.

The quarantine period can be reduced to seven days if the person meets all of the previously listed conditions and had a negative result from a PCR COVID-19 test that was conducted at least five full days after the start of the quarantine period.

“Evidence indicates the risk of a person becoming infected and passing along that infection is highest in the early days of the quarantine, and much lower in the last few days of the 14-day period,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm. “CDC determined there is a public health benefit to offering shorter quarantine options that boost compliance and do not significantly increase risk. After reviewing the available information, we agreed with that conclusion and adopted their new guidance.”

Malcolm also emphasized that while the risk drops in the final days of the 14 day quarantine period following exposure to COVID-19, there is still a small risk of transmission. She says the Department of Health continues to recommend 14 days in quarantine in cases involving household exposure to a person with COVID-19 or if an individual is in a congregate living situation, including long-term care facilities, correctional facilities, homeless shelters or other similar settings. A longer quarantine recommendation would also apply to people who work in those settings.

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