New COVID-19 guidelines address holidays, reluctance

John Jared Hawks

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued updated guidance that reduces the quarantine period for those exposed to COVID-19.

Kansas counties may choose to opt in to the shortened quarantine period or continue with the 14 days.

Franklin County will be opting in to the newly released guidance, while highly encouraging those who are not feeling well to get tested.

“While it is incredibly important for people to remember that the incubation period for COVID-19 is still 14 days, it is our hope that a shortened quarantine period will encourage better compliance for those individuals who get quarantine orders,” said Dr. Bud Ransom, Franklin County public health officer.

The health department has seen COVID-19 cases that have been hidden as long as possible in order to keep working, not miss family gatherings, etc.

“We are hopeful that shortened quarantine periods will also inspire those who are not feeling well to talk to their healthcare provider or the Health Department and get a test when necessary,” Ransom said.

There are two options pertaining to shortened quarantined periods, one with testing and one without – both requiring the individual to be symptom-free.

Seven-Day Quarantine (Testing and No Symptoms)

• After exposure, individual must participate in public health monitoring for 7 days.

• If there are no symptoms during this time frame, on or after Day 5, the individual may get a PCR test (antigen and antibody tests are NOT allowed for this purpose).

• If the test is negative and the person remains symptom-free, the individual can be removed from quarantine on Day 7.

• If test results are pending on Day 7, the individual must not leave quarantine until the results are received.

10-Day Quarantine (No Testing and No Symptoms)

• After exposure, individual must participate in public health monitoring for 10 days.

• If you have no symptoms during the 10 days, you can be released from the quarantine without a test.

KDHE recommends all exposed persons should self-monitor for 14 days from exposure and contact a healthcare provider or the health department if symptoms develop. The disease can still develop through Day 14.