Health officials in St. Louis City and County, Mo., nestled in the crux of hard-hit Midwest states with surging coronavirus cases, have rejected the new shorter quarantine periods suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Earlier this week, the public health departments announced they were sticking with the original 14-day quarantine period to ensure the lowest possible risk of virus transmission.
The CDC on Dec. 2 announced two acceptable shorter quarantine periods. Although officials said that the previously-established 14 days of quarantine is the best way to reduce the risk of virus spread. Officials said quarantine can now end after 10 days without a COVID-19 test if the person reports no symptoms, or after seven days with a negative test result if the person reports no symptoms.
“The City of St. Louis and Saint Louis County are choosing to adhere to the stronger protocols to better reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission in the community,” reads a statement.
“At this time, the virus is rapidly circulating in the St. Louis region,” the statement continues. “Loosening quarantine restrictions could lead to increased transmission, which may lead to increased hospitalizations and deaths. Thus, loosening restrictions is not an acceptable option.”
If someone ends quarantine after a week with a negative test result, the CDC says the risk of then transmitting the virus after that point is 5%, with the upper limit of that risk around 12%. If someone ends quarantine after ten days, the risk of transmission drops to about 1%, with an upper limit of about 10%.
The CDC said the shorter alternatives aim to reduce economic hardship and lessen the stress on the public health system as infections rise.
Top health experts previously told Fox News the changes “strike a balance” with a resistant public. Experts like Dr. Lisa Maragakis, senior director of infection prevention at the Johns Hopkins Health System, said the risk of COVID-19 infection is highest early on, and most of the benefits of quarantine are realized within the initial 10 days.
Nonetheless, another expert at Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Gabor Kelen, director of the department of emergency medicine said: “The safest approach for those who are willing and able is to quarantine for the full 14 days since they could develop symptoms or begin to spread the virus at any point during the 14 day period following an exposure.”
According to St. Louis’s figures, the area is experiencing a startling 16% positivity rate, at least 58,900 total cases, and over 600 average daily new cases. Data compiled by Johns Hopkins lists a statewide 9.9% positivity rate and some 342,000 cumulative cases.