CDC Eases Covid-19 Quarantine Guidance, Could Benefit Senior Living

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) on Wednesday eased quarantine guidance related to Covid-19, and senior living providers welcomed the news.

Previously, the CDC recommended that individuals quarantine for 14 days after exposure to someone with Covid-19. The new guidelines recommend that people can stop quarantining after 7 days if they receive a negative Covid-19 test, or after 10 days if they are not tested but do not show any symptoms of Covid-19.

“The move reflects the agency’s recognition that the two-week quarantine rule is onerous for many people and that most of the public health benefit from quarantining people exposed to the virus can be gained with a more flexible approach,” The Washington Post reported.

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In other words, there is still risk of developing Covid-19 for up to 14 days after exposure. However, scientists at the CDC concluded that the risk of transmission drops to about 5%, with an upper limit of 12%, for people who test negative and stop quarantining after seven days. The risk is about 1%, with an upper limit of 10%, for those who quarantine for 10 days.

From the early days of the pandemic, many senior living providers imposed 14-day quarantine periods for new residents, which has deterred some people from making the move. 

“The shorter isolation period of 7 to 10 days for a new resident that has tested negative before moving in will be a big help,” Leon Grundstein, CEO of Seattle-based GenCare, told Senior Housing News. “We would use the shorter isolation guidelines. It would also help marketing as people would not be as reluctant to move in with the shorter isolation period.”

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Similarly, leaders with Birmingham, Michigan-based Bloom Senior Living were heartened to see the revised guidance. The provider previously required a 14-day quarantine for new residents, but now is happy to pair testing — via its relationship with Assurance Scientific Laboratory — with reduced quarantine periods.

“Anecdotally, we did not see any new cases identified during the quarantine period,” Melissa Campbell, director of education and development, told SHN. “Based on our positive move-in experience throughout the pandemic, I welcome the opportunity to reduce the quarantine period and get the new residents involved in community life earlier.”

Carlsbad, California-based Kisco Senior Living already has adjusted self-isolation protocols after making a big commitment to saliva-based “pooled” testing.

New Kisco residents must have a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of move-in, and if testing was not available before they moved in, they quarantine until an individual PCR test is conducted and returns a negative result. After that, they are included in a “high-risk” protocol of twice-weekly pooled saliva testing for two weeks. At that point, they are put into Kisco’s “lower-risk” protocol of pooled testing once a week, unless they exit the community for any reason.

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