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Health Department: ‘Isolating is different than quarantining’

Jefferson City Capitol
The Missouri Capitol dome.


After Missouri Gov. Mike Parson announced he and the first lady tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, Parson announced he would be in isolation for 10 days.

Scott Clardy, Assistant Health Director of Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services, said isolation and quarantine are two different procedures.

Parson went into isolation at the Governor's Mansion Thursday, with his wife isolating at a home in Bolivar, Mo. The procedure takes place after receiving a positive test result, Clardy said.

The health official added people who test positive for coronavirus are expected to isolate themselves for 10 days.

CDC guidelines dictate people with COVID-19 no longer need two negative tests before coming out of isolation.

The CDC's website added, "People who have tested positive for COVID-19 do not need to quarantine or get tested again for up to 3 months as long as they do not develop symptoms again."

Clardy said this move was made after the CDC realized that patients may still test positive for COVID-19, even if they are not contagious.

The procedure is different if you've only been exposed to COVID-19. Clardy said this is when you'd be expected to quarantine for 14 days.

The CDC's website currently states, "You should stay home for 14 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19."

Scott Clardy added, "The reason for the 14 days is that's the maximum incubation period for COVID-19."

The assistant health director said quarantine lasts longer for those who were exposed to ensure that they are not showing symptoms before leaving quarantine.

Clardy said people that are symptomatic you would begin looking two days before they showed symptoms.

For the governor, who is asymptomatic, you'd begin looking for close contacts two days before testing positive, which would be Monday.

People he touched would automatically be considered a close contact.

Other close contacts include people he was within six feet of for at least 15 minutes.

Clardy said the 15 minutes is cumulative throughout the day, meaning if Parson was within six feet of someone for five minutes, three times in a day, they would be deemed a close contact.

In a press release, Governor Parson's office announced that the Governor would be performing his duties remotely while in isolation, from the Governor's Mansion.

He will participate in scheduled events, calls, and interviews virtually.

The release added that all staff members in close contact with the Governor will work remotely, and those not identified continue to work in the office.

The governor's staff was tested Thursday. It's unclear if results have come back, yet.

Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe's office said Kehoe was tested but that it came back negative for COVID-19.

Kehoe's staff was not required to be tested.

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Ben Fein

Ben Fein is a multimedia journalist for ABC 17 News. You can usually see his reports on weekend mornings or weekdays at 5, 6 and 6:30 p.m. on KMIZ.


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