Iowa eases COVID-19 quarantine guidelines

DES MOINES, Iowa -- The Iowa Department of Public Health is recommending new COVID-19 quarantine guidelines.

The department says close contacts of positive cases will no longer need to quarantine for 14 days if a face mask was worn by both the positive person and those contacts.

The new guidelines apply to places like businesses, child care centers, and schools.

"In some situations, they're having to quarantine a disproportionally high number of students when just a few positive cases have been identified" says Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds.

Reynolds and the Department of Public Health say face masks are proven to be effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

"If they're using them, they we ought to be able to--if they're doing it properly, and everyone was wearing a mask--then they shouldn't have to quarantine for 14 days" Reynolds says.

Even though the state's new quarantine guidelines apply specifically to those wearing face masks, Reynolds says again she won't implement a statewide mandate for mask use in public schools or anywhere else.

The Iowa Department of Public Health acknowledges that the state's new guidelines are contrary to the Centers for Disease Control recommendations of a 14-day quarantine for people who may have been exposed to COVID-19, regardless of mask use.

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