A one-week quarantine CAN work if people receive a negative coronavirus test on their last day

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A one-week quarantine CAN work if people receive a negative coronavirus test on their last day

A one-week quarantine can be enough to stop someone exposed to coronavirus from spreading it, a new study suggests.Until recently, the Centers for Dis

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A one-week quarantine can be enough to stop someone exposed to coronavirus from spreading it, a new study suggests.

Until recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that anyone who may have come into contact with a COVID-19 patient quarantine for 14 days.

However, last month, officials finalized new guidelines suggesting people quarantine for between seven days, if they receive a negative test, and 10 days, without a test,

Researchers found that having a negative test on the last day can detect any cases that were missed on the first day and prevent future outbreaks.

The team, from Yale University School of Public Health (YSPH), says this quarantine method is faster and easier, which will save both time and money. 

A new study, from Yale University School of Public Health, found that a one-week quarantine can prevent someone exposed to COVID-19 from spreading it if they test negative on Day 7. Pictured: Hugo Boserup, 22, is tested for coronavirus in Malibu, California, December 2

A new study, from Yale University School of Public Health, found that a one-week quarantine can prevent someone exposed to COVID-19 from spreading it if they test negative on Day 7. Pictured: Hugo Boserup, 22, is tested for coronavirus in Malibu, California, December 2

The team says testing at the beginning of a quarantine period can help detect some early cases of COVID-19.

However, the start could be too soon to detect the virus, which takes several days to make enough copies on itself to appear on test swabs. 

‘An entry test is not a very effective way to increase the utility of quarantine,’ said co-first author Dr Jeffrey Townsend, a professor of biostatistics in the Department of Biostatistics, at YSPH. 

‘But if you test at the end, it really, really is much more effective.’ 

For the study, published on pre-print site medRxiv.org, the team developed a mathematical theory for three scenarios of quarantine duration.

Next, they tested the theory on oil-rig workers who were quarantined for five to seven days between April 2020 and August 2020.

The workers were tested for COVID-19 before on the day their quarantines began, on the day the quarantines ended and after the quarantine period. 

Results showed tests conducted just four days after the start of quarantine managed to catch a significant number of cases missed at the beginning.

The team then looked at tests that occurred on the first day and last day of quarantine.

Among 47 cases, 16 that previously tested negative on the first day were identified, with no further cases following the quarantine period.

‘They had no problems during this time – no one came out of quarantine symptomatic or tested positive afterward,’ Townsend said.

‘This was a very successful implementation of our data-driven theory.’ 

He also gave recommendations for anyone considering traveling over the upcoming holiday season.  

‘If you’re going to travel, you should strictly quarantine yourself from other social contacts for at least a week,’ he said. 

‘And get tested at the last possible moment so that you will get the answer before you meet up with your loved ones.’

The study has been peer-reviewed and is awaiting formal publication in a journal.

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