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VDH announces updated contact tracing, quarantine guidelines

(© Fabian –

Because of the recent increase in COVID-19 positives in Virginia, some local health departments, out of necessity, may not be contacting everyone with a positive test result.

Per new guidelines from the CDC, the Virginia Department of Health said today that it may prioritize follow-up of cases and tracing of close contacts for the following groups:

  • People diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past six days and their household contacts
  • People living or working in or visiting congregate living facilities
  • People involved in known clusters or outbreaks
  • People at increased risk of severe illness

“As cases of COVID-19 increase across the Commonwealth, this change will allow us to deploy resources where they will have the most impact,” said Virginia State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver. “We urge residents to continue to follow public health guidance on wearing masks and physical distancing, and to notify their circle of friends and family quickly if diagnosed with COVID-19. Also, please answer the phone if a VDH Contact Tracer calls. All these things are helping us in the fight against COVID-19.”

Nearly 2,000 public health professionals have been hired as contact tracers since May in local health departments to do this work. Although not all cases and not all contacts can be called when the number of cases is high, contact tracing will continue in Virginia in accordance with these new recommendations.

Revised quarantine guidelines

CDC guidance now includes two additional options for how long quarantine should last.

Option 1 is still to quarantine for 14 days after last exposure. The two additional options for shortened quarantine are for people without symptoms to end quarantine after Day 10 without testing, or after Day 7 with a negative PCR or negative antigen test performed on or after Day 5.

Today, VDH is adopting this revised quarantine guidance for everyone except healthcare workers or healthcare facilities. CDC’s healthcare-associated infection prevention and control experts are currently reviewing the revised guidance; in the meantime, VDH recommends that healthcare personnel and residents and staff in healthcare facilities continue to use a 14-day quarantine.

augusta free press
augusta free press