Advocacy News – April 6, 2021
In a new Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) document, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) increased its mandatory quarantine period for individuals exposed to someone with COVID-19. The FAQ specifies that, due to increasing case rates and variant spread in Michigan, MDHHS is reinstating a standard 14-day quarantine for close contacts of COVID-19 cases. This will remove the option of reducing quarantine to 10 days, effective April 5, 2021.
This means people who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 must quarantine and monitor themselves for symptoms for 14 days following exposure. If the individual shows any symptoms of the virus, they should immediately isolate and get tested.
The revised quarantine instructions do not apply to people who are fully vaccinated. Beginning two weeks after vaccination, fully vaccinated persons who meet the criteria are no longer required to quarantine following exposure to someone with COVID-19. If given a two-dose vaccine series (Pfizer, Moderna), immunity builds two weeks after the second dose. If given a one-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson), immunity builds two weeks after that dose.
MDHHS is specifying, based on the schedules above, the individual may be exempt from quarantine, provided the individual does not have any COVID-19 symptoms.
The FAQ defines close contact as being within approximately 6 feet (2 meters) of a COVID-19 case for 15 minutes, including brief encounters in a 24-hour period totaling 15 minutes or more or having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case (e.g., being coughed on).
The Chamber is working to track down MDHHS’s authority to make this change as it seems to conflict with a statutory provision related to mandatory quarantine periods. The statute provides the quarantine period means “the recommended number of days that an individual be in quarantine after the individual is in close contact as prescribed in the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines regarding COVID-19.” On its face, this change does not appear to track CDC guidelines.