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Updated Quarantine Guidance from the Iowa Department of Public Health

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Updated Quarantine Guidance from the Iowa Department of Public Health

On Tuesday, September 29, 2020, the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) updated their quarantine recommendations for people that have been exposed to a positive case of COVID-19. The new guidance applies to non-health care, non-residential settings only. Businesses, education and child care settings are included in the updated recommendation as described below.

  • Close contacts of COVID-19 positive cases will no longer need to quarantine for 14 days if a face covering was worn consistently and correctly (over the nose and mouth) by the positive case and close contacts. The positive case must isolate. The close contacts should self-monitor.
  • Self-monitoring entails close monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms over the subsequent 14 days, staying home if any symptoms develop and speaking with a healthcare provider about COVID-19 testing in the case of any illness.
  • If people who are self-monitoring become ill but do not get tested, they should remain home until 10 days after symptom onset and symptoms have improved.
  • People currently in quarantine may be released from quarantine if a face covering was worn consistently and correctly by the positive case and close contacts during exposure. Case reviews have been completed through the Myrtue Medical Center’s Department of Public Health and those cases that could be released have been.
  • If the positive case wore a face covering, but close contacts did not, those contacts must quarantine.
  • If the positive case did not wear a face covering, close contacts must quarantine whether or not they wore a face covering.
  • Quarantine of close contacts will still be necessary in homes (and other residential settings) and healthcare settings. All family members living in the same home will be asked to quarantine as family member transmission of COVID-19 occurs frequently.


Not all face masks meet the definition of an acceptable face covering. For instance, gaiters and face shields do not meet this definition as these coverings have not yet been found to be effective at reducing the transmission of COVID-19. Acceptable face coverings are described in CDC guidance available at:

Masks approved by the CDC are proven to be effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Increased mask use will reduce the number of individuals that need to quarantine. Along with wearing a face covering, we ask that everyone continue all recommended public health measures:

  • Stay home when sick.
  • Maintain social distancing of at least six feet whenever possible.
  • Wash hands frequently.

This approach is based on data and focused feedback from community and school leaders over the past month indicating that transmission is not frequently occurring when both parties are waring face coverings consistently and correctly. Additionally, other jurisdictions, including Nebraska and Wyoming, have made similar changes based on experiences in their states. IPDH will continue to make recommendations based on best available information and adjust when needed.

Please continue to do your part by following all Public Health preventative measures to reduce the burden of illness in the community. The better we collectively do at prevention, the less mitigation (isolation and quarantine) is needed. For more information, please contact Myrtue Medical Center’s Public Health Department at 712.755.4422.