Quarantine and Isolation

Quarantine and isolation help prevent the spread of contagious diseases, such as COVID-19. Quarantine and isolation are used to keep people who are sick or who have been exposed to COVID-19 separate from people who have not been exposed.

What is the difference between quarantine and isolation?

Quarantine is for people who are not currently sick but were likely exposed to COVID-19 from a COVID-19 positive individual. People in quarantine may or may not be infectious. Per CDC recommendations, the exposed individual will be instructed to quarantine for 14 days from the last date of close contact with a positive case. The individual should *stay home, stay away from others and monitor for symptoms until cleared by the health department.

Isolation is for people who have tested positive for COVID-19. People who are in isolation should separate themselves from others living with them by staying in a specific “sick room” or area and using a separate bathroom if possible. They are required to *stay home and away from others until they are cleared by the health department.

*Stay home except to seek medical care. Do not go to work, school or public areas.

Who is considered a close contact?

A close contact is defined as someone who comes within six feet of a COVID-19 positive individual for at least 15 cumulative minutes. Close contacts could be family members, friends and coworkers who you interact with throughout the day.

Close contacts do not include infectious people who may walk past you at a place like the grocery store or gas station.

Quarantine

When would someone be asked to quarantine?

The health department will identify and reach out to people who were in close contact with a COVID-19 positive individual during their infectious period. If you have had close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and are still waiting on a call from the health department, you should begin self-quarantine by staying at home and away from others even if you don’t feel sick. Someone would be instructed to quarantine if:

•    They come within six feet for at least 15 cumulative minutes of someone who has COVID-19

•    They provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19

•    They had direct physical contact with a COVID-19 positive person (touched, hugged, or kissed them)

•    They shared eating or drinking utensils with a COVID-19 positive person

What should I do if I am instructed to quarantine?

•    Stay home for 14 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19

•    Watch for fever (100.4◦F), cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19 and immediately report any symptoms to the health department

•    Stay home and away others

When will I be released from quarantine? 

•    14 days from your last known contact with a positive COVID-19 individual

AND

•    You neither develop symptoms nor test positive for COVID-19

Even if you test negative for COVID-19 or feel healthy, you should remain in quarantine since symptoms may appear up to 14 days after exposure to the virus. 

What should I do if I come into close contact with a positive case and I am not immediately contacted by the health department?

The goal for the health department is to contact people who have been potentially exposed to COVID-19 within 24 hours. However, depending on the case load, it could take a bit longer.

If you have had close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and are still waiting on a call from the health department, you should begin self-quarantine by staying at home and away from others even if you don’t feel sick. If symptoms develop, immediately contact the health department.

Isolation 

When would someone be instructed to isolate?

•    They have symptoms and test positive for COVID-19

•    They have no symptoms but test positive for COVID-19

What should I do if I am instructed to isolate?

•    Monitor your symptoms. If you have an emergency warning sign (including trouble breathing), seek emergency medical care immediately

•    Stay in a separate room from other household members, if possible

•    Use a separate bathroom, if possible

•    Avoid contact with other members of the household and pets

•    Don’t share personal household items, like cups, towels, and utensils

•    Wear a cloth face covering when around other people, if able

When will I be released from isolation? 

•    No fever for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications

•    Improvement in respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath)

AND

•    At least 10 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared

Why am I being instructed to quarantine if I was released from isolation?

Even if an individual who tested positive for COVID-19 is released from isolation, they will be instructed to self-quarantine for 14 days anytime they come into close contact with a COVID-19 positive individual for at least 15 cumulative minutes. More information is needed to know whether immune protection will be observed for patients with COVID-19.

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