How many days do I need to quarantine if I plan to see family and friends for Christmas?

Socializing Travel

A: A 14-day quarantine prior to visiting family and friends continues to offer the greatest risk reduction. TODAY IS THE DAY TO START YOUR QUARANTINE!

The CDC recently revised guidelines offering alternatives to a 14-day quarantine for people exposed to someone with Covid-19 who remain asymptomatic. (Look for an in-depth post on this change next week) The revised guidelines REQUIRE A PCR TEST taken near day 7 of quarantine. Under the alternate guideline, receipt of a negative result would end quarantine BUT continued masking and social distancing is RECOMMENDED until 14 days following exposure as the risk of developing infection later in the quarantine period (days 10-14) are lower, BUT NOT ZERO. Holiday visits that include unmasked time and close proximity to others, once the requirements for a shorter quarantine are met, are still not advisable. So, a full 14-day quarantine period starting today remains the safest strategy for holiday gatherings.

For those following guidelines for a shorter quarantine, it’s best to layer on the risk reduction strategies to spread cheer instead of Covid this holiday season.

SPACE. Maintain distance, even inside. Consider smaller gatherings in bigger spaces that allow loved ones to spread out. Instead of an adult table and a kid table, seat families from different households separately for meals.
MASK. ~WEAR THE MASK INDOORS~ The CDC recently strengthened their guidance on this topic suggesting masks be worn indoors when not in your own home. Masks are the ugly sweater and matching jammies of 2020.

eep that mask on for the duration of your visit.

AIR. A recent article awaiting peer review found the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission indoors was 18 times higher than outdoors. Move the celebration outside or open those windows 6 inches or more to increase air exchange. (Fascinating piece on radiator heating from NPR below) Consider hot cocoa by a campfire or a winter wonderland walk to look at lights.

RESTRICT. Save the big reunions for next year. The more households gathered together in one space, the higher the risk of a Covid New Year. Make a plan so that everyone feels the love and hope of this holiday season in the safest ways possible. Simple gestures of care are the best gifts this year – a one-on-one phone conversation, a shared virtual experience like a traditional treat, or a gesture of appreciation can make this really difficult time more tolerable for all.

TIME. Keep visits short. Consider skipping the shared meal to shorten the visit and prevent unmasked time. Skip the sleepover if possible. Cherish the shorter but precious time spent together.

TESTING. A negative test in close proximity to your visit decreases the likelihood of SARS-CoV-2 infection, but is not a guarantee. This is an added strategy to decrease risk but insufficient on its own.

Wishing each of you a season of hope, joy, and peace!

The Nerdy Girls

How the Spanish Flu Pandemic Changed Home Heating by NPR

Increased Spread in Closed Environments

CDC Recommends Universal Mask Use Indoors

CDC Quarantine Guidelines

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