Douglas County adopts 10-day quarantine period for asymptomatic close contacts; 80 new cases added
photo by: Kevin Anderson/Journal-World File Photo
Updated at 2:35 p.m. Friday
Douglas County, starting Monday, will adopt a 10-day quarantine period for asymptomatic close contacts of people with COVID-19, according to a news release from Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health.
The move came Friday after the Kansas Department of Health and Environment on Wednesday allowed counties to individually decide on a shortened quarantine period, given the recent update in guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The health department said the change was based on the fact that KDHE staff indicated that to continue using its support for contact monitoring, counties would need to adopt the updated 10-day quarantine period.
Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health conducts disease investigation of all positive COVID-19 cases in the county, including identifying any close contacts who need to quarantine, and LDCPH uses the KDHE for monitoring of those close contacts.
The county health department’s news release nevertheless said that it still strongly recommended a 14-day quarantine period for anyone exposed to COVID-19.
The release provided this additional information:
10-Day Quarantine (no testing and no symptoms)
• After exposure, you monitor yourself for symptoms daily or participate in public health monitoring for 10 days.
• If you have no symptoms during the 10 days, you can be released from quarantine without a test. You should still self-monitor for symptoms through 14 days, be vigilant about wearing a mask and seek testing if symptoms develop.
“With the 14-day incubation period of the virus, we believe individuals who have been potentially exposed to COVID-19 should quarantine themselves for 14 days but given the resources we use through KDHE right now the 10-day quarantine period is what the state can support,” said Dr. Thomas Marcellino, Douglas County’s Local Health Officer. “Anyone who is feeling symptomatic should continue to quarantine for 14 days and seek testing through the health department or their provider.”
Due to high-risk situations, residents in long-term care and assisted facilities as well as prisoners in the Kansas Department of Corrections system are not eligible for shortened quarantine periods.
The new shortened quarantine requirements do not preclude individual businesses, schools or other institutions from staying with a 14-day quarantine, if they are more comfortable with that.
Douglas County has not approved the KDHE option for a shortened seven-day quarantine if the person obtains a negative PCR test on or after five days.
As more scientific and medical data become available, this could be subject to change in the future.
Unified Command leaders ask Douglas County residents to continue to follow the basic public health guidance including mask wearing, practicing social distancing and handwashing and limiting gatherings to limit chances for transmission and exposure of the virus in the community, particularly to protect those most vulnerable.
Douglas County reported 5,113 cases of COVID-19 as of Friday, an increase of 80 cases since Thursday. Of the 5,113 cases, 4,001 are inactive or beyond the infectious period, meaning 1,112 cases are active.
Fourteen patients at Lawrence’s hospital had active COVID-19 on Friday, one fewer than Thursday. Twenty-seven county residents have died from the virus thus far.