Pitkin County Public Health has updated its quarantine protocols for any individual not vaccinated as the majority of new cases in the county are identified as variants. In an effort to mitigate the spread of variant cases as well as simplify quarantine protocol, any individual exposed to COVID-19 that is not vaccinated must quarantine for 14 days.
The Need for Fourteen Days
Previously, the CDC and CDPHE had updated guidance to reduce the quarantine period to 10 days with the option to test out on day eight but still recommended the 14-day quarantine as the gold standard. With the emergence of variants, anyone exposed to a variant case was required to quarantine for 14 days. As of April 3, 2021, the most recent week for which all sequencing of COVID-19 specimens has been completed, 93% of all specimens submitted to the state lab from Pitkin County were identified as Variants of Concern.
Due to the increasing prevalence of variants in our community, as well as the lag time at the state lab to identify cases as variants, our Disease Investigation team was seeing increasing confusion and frustration between the10-day quarantine and 14-day quarantine. This new protocol streamlines all quarantine guidance for all community members including in the schools and sport settings.
Updated Quarantine Protocol in Pitkin County
- Quarantine for fourteen days from the last date of exposure to someone with COVID-19; or
- Test out of quarantine after seven days from the last date of exposure.
- In order to test out, individuals must have no symptoms and receive a negative PCR test no earlier than five days following the last date of exposure. If testing with an antigen test, individuals must wait seven days before being eligible to test out.
“We know variants of COVID-19 are now the vast majority of all COVID cases in our community and that variants are more easily spread,” said Public Health Disease Investigation Team Manager Kurt Dahl. “Our goal with this guidance is to simplify the quarantine process and make it consistent for everyone in Pitkin County. If you’ve been exposed you still have the ability to reduce quarantine to 7-days with a negative test result.” Our goal is to limit the spread of variants in our community as we know this is the greatest risk for not being able to end the pandemic. Each variant is stronger than the one before. It can’t mutate if it can’t replicate and quarantining is our best means to stop the mutations.
This quarantine guidance only applies to those that have not been vaccinated. If you are vaccinated and exposed to COVID-19 or a COVID-19 variant, you do not need to quarantine if you do not have any symptoms. We are in a race to get our community vaccinated before the variats take hold of the disease. Our success out of this pandemic is ensuring everyone that is able to get a vaccine can get one. If you have not gotten your COVID-19 vaccine yet, visit our vaccine clinic info page to find out were you can get your vaccine today. All vaccines are free and anyone age 16 and older is able to get one.