DENVER (CBS4) – Colorado is welcoming the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Wednesday recommendation of cutting the length of some quarantines, but is still trying to figure out how far it wants to go with its endorsement.
“This will help with staffing issues in a way that does not reduce safety. Maintaining the strong public safety we need. For our schools for our hospitals for retail for other areas that have had trouble maintaining a workforce while honoring the necessary quarantine restrictions,” said Gov. Jared Polis.
It came after the CDC revised guidance which had recommended a 14 day quarantine after coronavirus exposure. The new guidance says it can be shortened to 10 days without a test, if the person has no symptoms.
The person would have to wear a mask for 14 days and continue to monitor for symptoms.
Alternatively, the CDC and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said people may be released after seven days in quarantine if they’ve had a negative test result from a molecular or antigen test collected at least five days after exposure and within 48 hours of completion of the quarantine.
The CDPHE’s top epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy was quoted saying, “But the gold standard remains to be a 14 day quarantine after any possible exposure.”
The news release itself was subtitled, “CDC and CDPHE continue to recommend a full 14 day quarantine as the ‘gold standard.’”
That had some like the head of the Colorado Education Association, the state’s largest teacher’s union, Amie Baca-Oehlert saying, “You know as the CDPHE has said, that the 14 day is still the recommendation of the gold standard, and we should only move to these less protective measures in very specific instances… We still think the 14 days holds.”
There was appreciation from the head of the Colorado Hospital Association, Julie Lonborg, who called the CDC guidance good news, saying it may help staff shortages which have been exacerbated by health care workers in quarantine.
Many health care workers though continue to work after suspected exposure, until there are symptoms or they get tested said April Valdez-Villa of Denver Health Medical Center.
Their potential exposure to the virus is frequent. The hospital already clears staff to come back after 10 days. There was thankfulness from some education leaders, like Brighton 27J superintendent Dr. Chris Fiedler.
“I think it’s good news and it shortens the quarantine.”
Fielder was more thankful that the governor recently listened to a plea from him and some other superintendents for the state to drop its requirement of an alternative diagnosis along with a negative COVID-19 test before students and teachers can return from quarantine.
It’s still not clear exactly what the view of the CDPHE will be. They answered our inquiry with a statement.
“We recommend following the most protective guidance, which is a 14 day quarantine from the date of exposure, regardless of test result, but the new options from CDC are acceptable alternatives. The state is updating all of our guidance and communications to be aligned with the new CDC options and that includes the gold standard of 14 days.”