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Press Release

Contra Costa Extends Time People With COVID-19 Must Remain in Isolation

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano today issued orders extending the amount of time people must remain in isolation from 7 to 10 days after the onset of symptoms or a positive test for those without symptoms.

Dr. Farnitano said the change is being done based on new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about how long COVID-19 patients remain infectious.

"We're learning more and more about the virus every day," Dr. Farnitano said. "Based on our latest understanding, we want people with COVID to remain isolated a little bit longer in order to reduce the chance of infecting others."

The updated isolation and quarantine orders also define the infectious period for asymptomatic people with the virus as beginning 48 hours prior to being tested for COVID-19. Public Health staff will identify close contacts during this 48-hour period.

The orders also expand the definition of close contacts to include individuals who were within six feet of a case for at least 15 minutes during the infectious period.

On April 3, the health officer issued a mass order for residents with COVID-19 and their close contacts to isolate and quarantine themselves. The massorders were issued so public health staff wouldn't have to individually serve isolation orders to those who tested positive as COVID-19 cases steadily grew. As of May 13, Contra Costa 1,080 people had tested positive in the county.

The order also requires those who test positive to notify those they have recently had close contact with.

Contra Costa has increased the number of staff dedicated to disease or "contact tracing" investigation from pre-COVID number of 14 to 75 since the emergence of COVID-19 in the county. The state recently allocated $800,000 to the county to hire even more disease investigators.

The ability to do widespread contact tracing is one the County's five indicators for reopening.

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