Exciting news, friends! Earlier today, the CDC announced shortened alternatives to its recommended quarantine for people who have been exposed to COVID-19.
The prior recommendation was a 14-day quarantine after exposure, & according to the CDC, it is still “the best way to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.” However, the agency has identified two acceptable alternatives.
Per the CDC, a quarantine can end after 10 days if the person has not developed any symptoms, OR after just 7 days if the asymptomatic person also tests negative for the virus. Based on their own modeling & outside research, the CDC reports that ending a quarantine after 10 days without a negative test leads to ~1% risk of spreading the virus to others & a 5% risk after a 7-day quarantine with a negative test. For this reason, it is still important for individuals to monitor for symptoms for the full 14 days.
(As a reminder, a “close contact” or exposure is defined as someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting from 2 days before illness onset” or positive test result.)
Guidelines and recommendations continue to change, friends…this is a good sign! It means we are learning more about COVID-19 & how to control it. Rather than be frustrated, let’s welcome new information as evidence that our scientific community is doing their job & doing it well. It also means testing is more available – more good news!
When considering testing, knowledge of which test is the right test for you is REALLY important. Not all tests are created equal, each having it’s own list of pros & cons.
Rapid antigen tests, when used correctly & as a complement to the molecular based PCR testing (considered the gold-standard test) have shown to accurately identify individuals with & without symptoms who are most likely to be infected with COVID-19. These rapid results (available in just 15 minutes!) allow contract tracing to begin right away, & in many instances, slowing the spread considerably!
PCR-based tests are more sensitive, detecting COVID when the viral load may be much lower, such as in asymptomatic individuals. They are also expensive, require specialized equipment, & can take days to return results. These characteristics limit their use on a large scale & make them less effective for use in contract tracing.
In some cases, a combination of both rapid testing paired with a molecular based PCR test provides the highest level of reassurance.
The bottom-line is this… testing is still believed to be the key to slowing the spread & saving lives. Having access to the most appropriate test not only provides valuable information to each patient, but also those around them. And now this information will allow for a shorter quarantine!
At LBMD & Associates, we not only offer both rapid & PCR-based tests, but we also spend time reviewing each patient’s unique situation to help determine which test is the most appropriate. Knowledge is power friends, & the more we know, the better equipped we’ll be to get through this pandemic together!
Looking for a test because you have developed symptoms or need to get out of quarantine ASAP? Give us a call at 616-345-LBMD to schedule your consult today.