Quarantined, coronavirus-sick allowed to vote in-person: CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has given the green light to quarantined, coronavirus-ill people to vote in-person.

“Voters have the right to vote, regardless of whether they are sick or in quarantine,” the agency posted on its webpage, which was updated as of Nov. 1.

FILE - Voters prepare their ballots in voting booths during early voting for the California presidential primary election at an L.A. County 'vote center' on March 1, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

The CDC advised taking steps to protect others, like wearing a mask, maintaining proper distance and practicing hand hygiene both before and after voting. Infected individuals should also let poll workers know they are ill or under quarantine upon arrival.

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Coronavirus-ill people should minimize the amount of time spent at the polls, the health agency said. This may be possible by filling out registration forms in advance and bringing along filled-in sample ballots.

“The more prepared you are, the less time you may have to spend at the voting site,” the CDC wrote.

Consider bringing an extra mask just in case, and try heading to the polls during quieter hours, such as mid-morning, the agency advised. Also, travel to the polls in the safest way possible and avoid shared transportation, like crowded buses or trains. However, if this is the only option available, wear a mask over the nose and mouth at all times, maintain at least six feet of distance from others and practice hand hygiene.

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Meanwhile, Dr. David Thomas, chief of the division of infectious diseases and professor at Johns Hopkins University, told Fox News he doesn't endorse symptomatic or confirmed infected individuals coming into a public space without advance precautions.

"In my view, the right of the general public to vote safely and the right of the volunteer poll workers to reasonable protection override the right of an individual to vote, IF by voting one person puts others at risk," Thomas wrote in an emailed statement. "To me, the key is whether provisions can be made in advance for symptomatic people to vote safely."

"I am confident such voting could be done safely, just as we safely provide health care to persons with SARS-CoV-2 infection," he continued. "If it were done uniformly for all types of voters, it would also seem just. I would be interested to learn how much infection control training and PPE distribution has occurred around the country. Absent that, I am back to, 'unless you have made special arrangements to protect other voters and poll workers, stay home if you are COVID-19 pos or have symptoms.'"

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Kayla Rivas is a Health reporter and joined Fox News in April 2020.

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