Now that you know the basics, feel free to get into the ‘weeds’ of the rationale below:

First off, Bexar County/Metro Health still require 14 day quarantine, based on the data that our cases are currently increasing. The CDC recommendations state that it is up to local conditions to allow the reduction in time and we are not there yet.

Regarding the changes, this is what the CDC recommendations states: “CDC currently recommends a quarantine period of 14 days. However, based on local circumstances and resources, the following options to shorten quarantine are acceptable alternatives.”       

Here is the CDC rational for a shorter quarantine: 
“However, a 14-day quarantine can impose personal burdens that may affect physical and mental health as well as cause economic hardship that may reduce compliance. Implementing quarantines can also pose additional burdens on public health systems and communities.” 
     Therefore they conclude, “Reducing the length of quarantine will reduce the burden and may increase community compliance.”
So, the following are 2 acceptable quarantines after a primary exposure, per the CDC:

1)  Quarantine can end after Day 10 without testing and if no symptoms have been reported during daily monitoring.   (transmission risk of this quarantine is 1-10% vs 0-3% for 14 day quarantine)
2)  Quarantine can end after Day 7 if a diagnostic specimen tests negative and if no symptoms were reported during daily monitoring. The specimen (PCR) may be collected and tested within 48 hours before the time of planned quarantine discontinuation.  (transmission risk of this quarantine is 5-12%) Of note, Metro Health does not recognize a rapid antigen test in an asymptomatic patient, therefore this diagnostic test would need to be a PCR and it could be collected as early as Day 5 so that hopefully the results would be available by day 7.  

Please note:

1) Heritage will still recommend that a patient wear a mask and practice social distancing around any non-family members until 14 days if they choose one of the above shorter quarantines.

2) If a person develops symptoms after a shorter quarantine, they should immediately quarantine and be tested as soon as possible.  

3) A quarantine begins the day of the last exposure to the COVID-19 positive patient.  Thus if a family member / member of the household is positive, unless that person is completely isolated, the quarantine begins 10 days after the onset of symptoms of the positive patient or the day of the positive test if the patient is asymptomatic.   

4) Heritage may not be able to perform a diagnostic to end the quarantine at 7 days if supplies are running low.  At this point, tests would be reserved for diagnostic purposes for those who are symptomatic.   

If you would like to read the CDC guidelines, click on this link: