The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reportedly considering adjusting its guidelines on how long people should quarantine if they are exposed to someone with COVID. The Wall Street Journal reported that the agency may shorten the recommended quarantine period from 14 days to between seven and 10 in an effort to encourage more people to follow the guidelines.
Additionally, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield told Yahoo Finance that the agency will reduce quarantine time recommendations in an interview Wednesday.
"I do anticipate that we will come out with recommendations that look at a shorter period of quarantine, and a shorter period where you would test out of quarantine," Redfield said.
According to Redfield, the CDC is currently analyzing data to determine whether the change is appropriate. He expects "in the next week or so that data will be completely analyzed and then recommendations will be made based on that data."
A spokesman for the CDC told Fox News Tuesday that no changes have been finalized.
"CDC is always reviewing its guidance and recommendations in the light of new understandings of the virus that causes COVID-19 and will announce such changes when appropriate," the spokesperson said.
Current CDC guidelines explain quarantine "is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others," whereas the term isolation is used for keeping someone who tests positive for the virus away from others, even those they live with.
The CDC recommends that any individual who has been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 stay home for a period of 14 days after their last contact with that person. Those who have had COVID-19 within the past three months are excluded from this recommendation and don't need to quarantine.
"People who have tested positive for COVID-19 do not need to quarantine or get tested again for up to 3 months as long as they do not develop symptoms again. People who develop symptoms again within 3 months of their first bout of COVID-19 may need to be tested again if there is no other cause identified for their symptoms," the CDC states.
Under the proposed new guidelines, a person would only have to quarantine for seven to 10 days provided they tested negative for COVID before ending their quarantine. Henry Walke, the CDC incident manager for COVID-19, told the Wall Street Journal that once a person tests negative, the likelihood that they will go on to develop the infection "is pretty low."
"We do think that the work that we've done, and some of the studies we have and the modeling data that we have, shows that we can with testing shorten quarantines," Walke said.
Though there is a risk that testing may miss some infectious cases, Walke indicated that the agency hopes people "better adhere to quarantine if it was, for example, seven to 10 days."
Progress on developing a vaccine for the coronavirus continues. Last week, Pfizer applied for emergency approval from the Food & Drug Administration for their vaccine, which has shown to be 95% effective in trials.