New quarantine guidelines

BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) – Despite the active case count hitting another week of all-time highs and the statewide positive rates continuing to increase, Gov. Doug Burgum chose not to change the risk levels for any counties.But there are changes to who should quarantine for COVID-19.

For the second time in the past week, there are new quarantine guidelines for close contacts.

If someone is a close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, they are no longer automatically required to self-quarantine.

Rather, if both individuals were wearing masks at the time of exposure, that person only needs to check for symptoms and considering getting tested in seven to 10 days.

“When the positive case and the close contact have both been correctly wearing a face covering or face mask for the entire time they were in contact with each other the close contact will not need to self-quarantine at home. But, instead, we will ask this close contact to self-monitor,” Kirby Kruger of the Dept. of Health said.

Burgum said it was done to give schools and long-term care facilities more flexibility.

Nearly 4,000 North Dakota students have already experienced some form of quarantine this school year alone.

Burgum is adding another channel of promoting mask use without using a mandate. Going on to say that the incentive for testing is a “secondary concern,” but more focused on the incentive to promote mask wearing.

“My confidence level goes up; it goes up because now there’s an incentive. If now when you get a call, and you’ve been named a close contact, and they say, ‘were you wearing a mask?’ Yep. ‘Was everyone around you wearing a mask?’ Yep. Okay. Well then, you’re not going to have to sit on the sidelines for 14 days,” Burgum said.

While trying to put less stress on the testing capacity, North Dakota will be receiving 14,000 rapid tests from Washington, D.C.

These tests give results in 15 minutes and don’t rely on a state lab to be conducted.

Burgum said he plans on deploying them in schools and long-term care facilities.

Copyright 2020 KFYR. All rights reserved.

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