Massachusetts Updates COVID-19 Quarantine Recommendations

Effective today, December 7, 2020, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has aligned its quarantine recommendations with those issued last week by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The new guidance is based on recent CDC data showing that shortened quarantine periods result in only a small chance that someone may develop COVID-19 after leaving quarantine. The small risk that someone may develop COVID-19 after a shortened strict quarantine period is outweighed by the expected benefit of reduced transmission from the expected increased cooperation with adherence to the quarantine, according to the CDC.

  • The majority of COVID-19 cases have incubation periods fewer than 10 days, although the possible incubation period is still 14 days. During the quarantine period, people must not have visitors in their homes and they cannot have contact with other people who live in their homes.
  • The 14-day quarantine recommendation remains in place for any person experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms during the quarantine period, even if they have a negative test, and for those unwilling or unable to conduct active self-monitoring of symptoms.
  • Under the new guidance, people who have no symptoms and have either a negative PCR or antigen test taken on Day 5 or later, can be released on Day 8 (following 7 days of quarantine). 
  • If the person does not have a test and does not have symptoms, they may be allowed to leave quarantine on Day 11 (following 10 days of quarantine).
  • Under either option, the individual must conduct active monitoring of their symptoms through Day 14 and get tested and isolate if they develop any sign of disease.
  • The guidance for a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 has not changed, which means they should stay in self-isolation for 10 days. They can resume public activities after the 10 days as long as they have gone for 24 hours without a fever and without taking fever-reducing medications like Tylenol and have experienced improvement in other symptoms, such as a cough that has gotten much better.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is also updating quarantine guidelines in return to work guidance, effective December 7, 2020. The guidance clarifies that certain sectors may continue to work during their quarantine period to preserve critical societal functions. This is only allowed if the worker remains asymptomatic. These sectors include healthcare workers, first responders, and critical infrastructure workers, as defined by CDC.

Information on how long you must quarantine and more is available at www.mass.gov/quarantine.

Page was posted on 12/7/2020 4:50 PM
Page was last modified on 12/7/2020 4:54 PM
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