What Kansas businesses should know about the CDC's new Covid-19 close-contact quarantine standards

October 10, 2023

The Centers for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is incorporating alternative quarantine standards for a person or people identified as a close contact to someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.With the revised standards, close contacts could be subject to quarantine periods of seven to 10 days as opposed the two-week period that has been the CDC’s recommendation since the pandemic began.However, the alternative CDC standards won’t go into effect automatically. The CDC says local public health authorities will determine and establish close-contact quarantine guidelines for their respective jurisdictions.The Kansas Department of Health and Environment is leaving that decision up to individual counties but continues to recommend the 14-day quarantine period.

“The incubation for this disease is still 14 days,” Dr. Lee Norman, KDHE Secretary, said in a news release.  “The guidance is being changed at a federal level to encourage more people to get tested and encourage better compliance with quarantines.”

However, some Kansas counties are going against that recommendation.Sedgwick and Butler counties recently opted to allow shorter quarantine periods for people who have not tested positive for Covid-19 but may have been a close contact with a person who has, according to Kake News reports. Johnson County also is opting for a shorter quarantine timeframe for close contacts, according to a Fox Kansas City report.Meanwhile, other Kansas counties, including Pottawatomie and Wyandotte, are continuing to adhere to the 14-day quarantine period.Connor Cross, Director of HR for Syndeo, says businesses should apply the modified quarantine standards for close contacts conservatively, such as when legitimate business needs must be met or if implementing a longer quarantine timeframe would cause severe operational issues for the organization. Otherwise, businesses should continue with the 14-day quarantine standards, Cross says.The CDC still recommends a 14-day quarantine as a best practice but says that time can be shortened based on local circumstances and resources. If allowed, the following options to shorten a quarantine period would be acceptable:

  • Quarantine can end after Day 10 without testing and if no symptoms have been reported during daily monitoring.
  • With this strategy, residual post-quarantine transmission risk is estimated to be about 1 percent with an upper limit of about 10 percent, according to the CDC.
  • Quarantine can end after the seventh day when diagnostic testing resources are sufficient and available if a diagnostic specimen tests negative and no symptoms were reported during daily monitoring. The specimen may be collected and tested within 48 hours before the time of planned quarantine discontinuation (e.g., in anticipation of testing delays), but quarantine cannot be ended earlier than day seven.
  • With this strategy, the residual post-quarantine transmission risk is estimated to be about 5 percent with an upper limit of about 12 percent, according to CDC guidelines.

In both cases additional criteria, such as continued symptom monitoring and mask wearing through the full 14 days, must be met.More information about the alternative quarantine guidelines is available on the CDC website.About us: As the Heartland’s leading employer services company, Syndeo partners with local business owners to help them minimize risk, improve efficiency and maximize profitability allowing them the freedom to focus on growth and fulfilling their mission. Syndeo fulfills its mission by taking on all of the HR responsibilities for our clients’ workforce, including employee relations, benefits, risk management and payroll.

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