Iowa officials commented Tuesday on Monday’s announcement by the Iowa Department of Public Health that close contacts of COVID-positive cases no longer need to quarantine for 14 days if a face covering was consistently worn by both people during the exposure.
If the person with Covid and those who were around them have consistently worn a face mask, only those with symptoms or who’ve tested positive will have to quarantine for two weeks.
State medical director Dr. Caitlin Pedati says she reviewed Covid case counts in four school districts in Sioux County.
The three districts where face coverings were not required had between 30 to 130 percent more Covid cases among students and staff.
Pedati says these new state guidelines on quarantining do not apply to residential facilities, like a nursing home, but are recommendations that may apply to other settings, like a business or child care center.
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Governor Kim Reynolds says the change is being made after superintendents from across the state expressed frustration about how many students and staff have had to be quarantined.
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The state’s medical director also cited a study in Missouri that found none of the 139 customers who were around two hair dressers who had Covid got the virus because all were wearing masks.
The Iowa Public Health Association called on state officials to release the evidence backing up this new guidance for when to quarantine.