Local leaders have different takes on CDC’s quarantine rule changes

WWNY Local leaders have different takes on CDC’s quarantine rule changes

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - It’s touted as a step in the right direction. As more people in the north country get fully vaccinated against COVID-19, some counties are changing quarantine rules to follow federal guidance. But, at least one north country leader says - not so fast.

New quarantine rules are coming down the pipeline from the Centers for Disease Control.

This month the CDC announced folks who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can potentially avoid quarantine.

It’s a sign of progress for Lewis County Public Health Director Ashley Waite.

“It’s a step in the right direction. It gives a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel here,” she said.

Lewis and St. Lawrence counties are adopting the federal recommendation.

It allows for a person with both shots to be exposed to COVID and not have to quarantine.

But there are rules.

The exposure would have to come at least 14 days after the individual’s second dose and within 90 days of that shot.

They have to remain asymptomatic.

Both counties require a person’s vaccination status be verified with the state and speaking with public health is still necessary.

“People still do need to make contact with the health department for them to go through, confirm the vaccination occurred, and then confirm that they meet the criteria,” said Dr. Andrew Williams, president, St. Lawrence County Board of Health.

Unlike Lewis and St. Lawrence Counties, Jefferson County isn’t putting the CDC’s recommendation in place just yet. County Board of Legislators Chairman Scott Gray says he wants to see what rules the state roles out first.

“CDC makes recommendations and then they have to be adopted by the Department of Health and then we take our cues from the department,” said Gray.

Governor Andrew Cuomo and State Health Commissioner Doctor Howard Zucker released a statement shortly after the CDC released its rules saying New York’s quarantine guidance will be updated to reflect federal policy.

But Gray says that’s yet to happen.

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