'Complete shock' when county COVID isolation order says '20 days'

Berkeley Brean
Created: December 01, 2020 06:14 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — In the last 10 days in Monroe County, 4,337 people tested positive for COVID-19. 

Every person who tests positive will get a letter from the Monroe County Public Health Department. We want to warn you, the letter will be direct and can be intimidating. 

And the quarantine order can, as one person told us, cause mental anguish. 

"I started having symptoms on Tuesday, November 11," David Sakmyster said.  

Sakmyster says it felt like a cold. But by Saturday, Nov. 14, it felt more like the flu. 

He got tested on Monday, Nov. 16 and the positive result came back Saturday, Nov. 21. 

"And by then I had already been feeling better," he said. 

Sakmyster called his doctor who told him to quarantine 10 days out from his test.

That was Thanksgiving Day. 

But on Nov. 24 he got the quarantine order from the county health department. It said he has to quarantine for 20 days from the date of the letter. 

"Which threw me into complete shock," Sakmyster said. "Because here I had been following the guidance of the CDC and the doctor who said 10 days after the test."

The order told him 20 days from Nov. 24. 

Brean: "That takes us to the middle of December."

Sakmyster: "Yeah, December 14th."

When I read the order sent to I emailed the county health department and I asked for an explanation. 

The health department spokesperson Julie Phillip wrote, "The isolation period can last UP TO 20 days, but the vast majority of people are released by MCDPH at 10 days."

And that's what happened to Sakmyster. On the same day we talked, a contact tracer called him and said he would be out of quarantine last Saturday. 

"They said, oh yeah, 20 days—it's in there but we just want that as a cushion," he said. "But you're really free in two days from now which is what the doctor had said."

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