Quebec reduces self-isolation period to 10 days for most confirmed COVID-19 cases

The change applies to those who previously had symptoms of COVID-19 and have not travelled abroad recently.

Director of public health says change prompted by better understanding of the virus

Those who have tested positive for COVID-19 can now end self-isolation after 10 days, provided they no longer have a fever or other symptoms. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)

Quebec is shortening the amount of time that most people must self-isolate if they have COVID-19 or have come into contact with a confirmed case.

Until now, the province had required a 14-day isolation period. The Health Ministry now says self-isolation can end after 10 days if the patient has not had a fever for at least 48 hours and has had no other symptom for at least 24 hours.

"Once the isolation period is over, people are no longer considered contagious. But they must respect the guidelines that apply to the general population, such as washing your hands, wearing a face-covering and physical distancing," said Dr. Horacio Arruda, the province's public health director, in a statement.

Arruda said the change was made because public health officials now have a better understanding of how the virus spreads.

Those arriving in Quebec from outside Canada are still required to self-isolate for 14 days, as are those who have come into contact with a confirmed case but have not shown symptoms.

Similar policies are already in place elsewhere in Canada and around the world.

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the United Kingdom's National Health Service both say self-isolation can end 10 days after a patient first shows symptoms.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer, said Friday that Quebec's announcement aligns with existing health guidelines.

Public health departments in Alberta and British Columbia also say isolation can end after 10 days for symptomatic patients.

In all cases, the patient must no longer be showing symptoms to end self-isolation.

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