Iowa health officials adjust quarantine recommendations

Published: Sep. 29, 2020 at 11:25 AM CDT
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DES MOINES, Iowa (KWQC) - The Iowa Department of Public Health made changes to its quarantine recommendations for people who have been exposed to a positive case of COVID-19.

The health department says the changes only apply to non-healthcare and non-residential settings. This includes businesses, education and child care settings.

  • Close contacts of COVID-positive cases will no longer need to quarantine for 14 days if a face covering was worn consistently and correctly by the positive case and close contacts. The positive case must isolate. The close contacts should self-monitor.
    • Self-monitoring entails close monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms over the subsequent 14 days, staying home if any symptoms develop, and speaking with a healthcare provider about COVID-19 testing in the case of any illness.
    • If people who are self-monitoring become ill but do not get tested, they should remain home until 10 days after symptom onset.
  • People currently in quarantine may be released from quarantine if a face covering was worn consistently and correctly by the positive case and close contacts during exposure.
  • If the positive case wore a face covering, but close contacts did not, those close contacts must be quarantined.
  • If the positive case did not wear a face covering, close contacts must quarantine whether or not they wore a face covering.
  • Quarantine of close contacts will still be necessary in residential and healthcare settings.

You can find an infographic depicting the new IDPH recommendations here.

Health officials say masks are proven to be effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Increased mask use will help reduce the number of people that need to quarantine. Along with wearing a face covering, the health department asks everyone to continue all recommended public health strategies:

  • Stay home when sick.
  • Maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet whenever possible.
  • Wash hands frequently.

The health department says this approach is based on data and focused feedback from community and school leaders over the past month. According to health officials, the data and feedback indicates transmission is not frequently occurring when both parties are wearing face coverings consistently and correctly.

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