COVID-19 variants could lend to lengthier quarantine scenarios

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DENVER — Despite recent successes, the CDC is warning COVID-19 variants could derail progress to end the pandemic.

State health officials have confirmed the presence of two variants in Colorado, B.1.1.7, or the U.K. variant, and L452R, which has been traced back to California and Denmark.

Research is being done to confirm if the B.1.1.7 variant spreads more rapidly. In the meantime, the Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDPHE) has added additional quarantine protocols for those who test positive for a COVID-19 variant or come into contact with one.

When Rachel Hague’s au pair tested positive for a COVID-19 variant, she was told she and her children might be quarantined for just over three weeks, or 24 days.

“[CDPHE] told me that her specimen had been flagged as a variant, and because it had been flagged as variant there are different quarantine requirements,” Hague said.

Ultimately, because Hague and her family successfully isolated from the au pair, CDPHE later confirmed their quarantine period didn’t have to be as long.

“She has her own bedroom and bathroom down there, and no one has been down there since she isolated,” Hague said. “We have a gate at the top of the stairs, so the only person who has been down there is myself, fully masked with, you know, gloves and face shield to bring her food, change out her dishes and sanitize everything.”

CDPHE confirmed some isolation and quarantine protocols could result in 24-day quarantines.

In a statement to Denver7, CDPHE wrote:

The quarantine period for close contacts, including household contacts, begins on the last day of exposure to the case while they are infectious. In a household where there is ongoing contact between the case and household members, the quarantine period of 14 days ends when the case is no longer infectious and has complete isolation. That could possibly add up to a total of 24 days in quarantine if there is ongoing exposure to the case during their isolation period (10 days) and then the contact completes quarantine (14 days).

CDPHE added there are no scenarios involving COVID-19 variants where those identified as “close contacts” can quarantine for less than 14 days.