The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) is making a change on quarantine recommendations for people that have been exposed to a positive case of COVID-19. This applies in non-healthcare, non-residential settings only. 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.
According to the IDPH, 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.
Wearing masks, and other safety measures
Masks are proven to be effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Increased mask use will reduce the number of individuals that need to quarantine.
Along with wearing a face covering, the Iowa Department of Public Health recommends that everyone continue these public health strategies:
Stay home when sick.
Maintain social distancing of at least six feet whenever possible.
Wash hands frequently.
This approach is based on data and focused feedback from community and school leaders over the past month indicating that transmission is not frequently occurring when both parties are wearing face coverings consistently and correctly.
IDPH will continue to make recommendations based on best available information and adjust when needed.