Change in Iowa COVID-19 Quarantine Guidance

Please take a moment to review the following changes to COVID-19 quarantine procedures:

The Iowa Department of Public Health yesterday notified local public health departments that it is making a change to the Iowa quarantine recommendations for people that have been exposed to a positive case of COVID-19, and South Hamilton CSD is implementing this change, effective immediately.

  • Close contacts of COVID-positive cases will no longer need to quarantine for 14 days if a face covering was consistently worn by both people during the exposure.
  • Household/residential contacts and contacts in health care settings will still have a 14-day quarantine recommendation.
  • Any type of face covering is acceptable; however, a face shield is not considered a face covering, and quarantine is still required if one or both people were wearing a face shield only.
  • People currently in quarantine may discontinue that quarantine if both people were wearing a face-covering during the time of exposure.
  • This is not a replacement for social distancing, but it should reduce the number of quarantines in school and work settings.
  • This does NOT change the isolation requirements for people that are actually sick or COVID-positive to isolate from others until:

They have had no fever for at least 24 hours (that is one full day of no fever without the use of medicine that reduces fevers) and their other symptoms have improved, AND

At least 10 days have passed since their symptoms first appeared OR since they had a positive COVID test if they are asymptomatic.

This decision was made by the Iowa Department of Public Health based on observations within Iowa and some other states that when the COVID-positive case and close contacts were both wearing face coverings at the time of exposure, the contacts were much less likely to develop an illness or later test positive. South Hamilton wants to emphasize the importance of wearing face coverings consistently and correctly, with it covering both the nose and the mouth. Other recommendations such as social distancing, staying home when you are sick, and frequently washing or disinfecting hands continue to be important practices to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.