SAN LUIS OBISPO — Beginning this week in San Luis Obispo County, close contacts of those with COVID-19 have two options for quarantine period from the last date of exposure: 14 days, or 10 days for those who are asymptomatic and don’t work in a high-risk setting.

Based on local conditions, the County of San Luis Obispo Public Health Department adopted a reduced COVID-19 quarantine for some people, based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and California Department of Public Health (CDPH).

The 14-day quarantine period from last exposure is still the recommended and most cautious option. CDC and the County Public Health Department still recommend a quarantine period of 14 days when possible, based on estimates of the upper bounds of the COVID-19 incubation period. Anyone eligible to reduce their quarantine to 10 days must rigorously adhere to COVID-19 precautions (wear a mask and maintain at least 6 feet of distance from others, and self-monitor for symptoms). If symptoms occur, they must immediately self-isolate and contact the public health department.

“This approach balances a reduced burden of quarantine, including physical and mental health benefits and more complete compliance, against a small possibility of increasing the spread of the virus,” said Dr. Penny Borenstein, County Health Officer. “It is a good option for some essential workers who are able to strictly follow COVID-19 precautions.”


On Dec. 8, the CDC updated its considerations for when to quarantine, announcing that local public health authorities could choose to reduce the length of quarantine to lessen the stress on the public health system. Based on the available data, CDC estimates the risk of transmission after day 10 of quarantine to be about 1%, with an upper limit of about 10%.

Based on local conditions and needs, the County Public Health Department will not adopt the option of a seven-day quarantine for those with a negative test result because that could result in a higher likelihood of transmission and put a strain on testing resources that are already in high demand. A negative test result does not change an individual’s duration of quarantine.

For updates on COVID-19 in SLO County, visit or call the recorded Public Health Information Line at 805-788-2903. A staffed phone assistance center at 805-543-2444 is available Monday-Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to assist with questions related to COVID-19.