TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment Wednesday afternoon announced it will issue a plan to reduce the quarantine period for those exposed to COVID-19. This was in conjunction with similar guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier in the day.
Counties may choose to opt in to the shortened quarantine period, either 10 or 7 days with testing, or continue with the 14 days as has been standard practice in Kansas.
Barton County, for now, is sticking with the 14-day model, said Health Director Karen Winkelman. This will be reevaluated once county officials receive the KDHE’s finalized recommendations which won’t be available for a couple of days.
“There are a lot of questions,” she said Wednesday, having just finished an hour-long phone conference with the KDHE. She has been in close contact with the county’s health consultant Dr. Jonathan Pike and they are taking a close look at the proposal.
“KDHE continues to recommend the 14-day quarantine and monitoring after being exposed to COVID-19,” Dr. Lee Norman, KDHE secretary, said. “The incubation for this disease is still 14 days. The guidance is being changed at a federal level to encourage more people to get tested and encourage better compliance with quarantines.”
Breaking it down
With the shortened quarantine period there are two options, one with testing and one without, with both requiring the individual to be symptom-free. Due to high risk situations, those residents in long-term care and assisted facilities as well as offender populations in Kansas Department of Corrections prisons, are not eligible for shortened quarantine periods in any county.
The options are:
Seven-Day Quarantine (Testing and No Symptoms)
• After exposure, individual must monitor symptoms daily or participate in Public Health monitoring for seven days.
• If there are no symptoms during this time frame, on or after day five, 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 or after day seven.
• If Testing Results are pending on day seven, the individual must not leave quarantine until results are received.
10-Day Quarantine (No Testing and No Symptoms)
• After exposure, you monitor yourself for symptoms daily or 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 people should self-monitor for 14 days from exposure and contact healthcare provider if symptoms develop. The disease can For those contacts being monitored by the KDHE, the computer system is currently being transitioned to allow for the shortened time periods, so those participating with KDHE may continue to experience monitoring calls during the transition period.