Vermonters may not have to spend a full two weeks in quarantine if they believe they have been exposed to the new coronavirus but test negative after the first week, Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said Monday.
The typical quarantine period recommended for a person believed to have been exposed to COVID-19 has been 14 days. COVID-19 is the official name of the disease related to the coronavirus that first started to affect people at the end of 2019.
Levine said Monday that the Health Department is working to expand its COVID-19 testing to “quickly identify and isolate outbreaks” and better understand the disease’s spread within the state.
“We expect there are many more people who are infected than the 900-plus who have tested positive to date,” Levine said.
Vermont has the ability to conduct 1,000 COVID-19 tests per day, Levine said.
When can I get tested?
Due to expanded testing capacity, the Health Department is now allowing people with the most mild symptoms to obtain a test. This includes children, Levine said. Symptoms of COVID-19 now include cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, and new loss of taste or smell.
Test referrals are made through primary care doctors, or by calling 2-1-1.
The Health Department has also begun offering tests to symptom-free front-line workers and first responders at pop-up sites around the state, Levine said.
What if I don’t have symptoms or traveled out of state?
People who don’t have symptoms but have traveled outside Vermont recently or believe they came into contact with someone who has COVID-19 can get tested after quarantining for seven days. They must continue quarantining until they receive their test results.
If the result is negative and the person still has no symptoms, they can end their quarantine, Levine said.
Contact Elizabeth Murray at 802-651-4835 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @LizMurrayBFP.
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