COVID-19 – Isolation and Quarantine
If you have been sent here because you have been tested for and told you had COVID-19, or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, please
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Isolation and quarantine help protect the public by preventing exposure to people who have or may have a contagious disease.
- Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick. These individuals are referred to as a ‘case’.
- Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. These individuals are referred to as a ‘contact’.
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.
For a ‘case’, it is beneficial to determine the date of onset of symptoms, or in the absence of symptoms, the date that the positive test was collected. Standard recommended isolation period for a case is 5 days following the day of symptom onset, or in the absence of symptoms, the date that the positive test sample was collected. Individuals with a fever are recommended to remain in isolation until the fever resolves. After the 5-day isolation period, CDC recommends that cases wear a mask around others for an additional 5 days. Some individuals will still be capable of transmitting the virus following the 5-day isolation period, and the additional 5-day masking period recommendation is an attempt to further reduce the risk of those individuals’ infecting others.
A ‘contact’ is defined as someone who comes in contact with a case, has been closer than 6 feet for fifteen minutes or more in a 24-hour period, and one of the parties is unmasked. For the purpose of determining a contact, the case is considered to be contagious for 2 days (48 hours), prior to the onset of symptoms, or in the absence of symptoms, 2 days (48 hours) prior to the date that the positive test sample was collected.
The CDC has effectively created a two-tier grouping for close contacts. The first group includes those who have recently completed the primary series of an approved vaccine (within the past 6 months for Pfizer or Moderna, or within the past 2 months for J&J), as well as those who have received a booster dose of vaccine. Individuals in this group are not recommended to quarantine if they remain asymptomatic (without symptoms). The CDC does recommend that these individuals wear a mask around others for 10 days and test on the 5th day after their exposure, if possible. If an individual in this tier does develop symptoms, the recommendation is that they should be tested and stay at home while awaiting results.
The second group includes anyone who is unvaccinated, partially vaccinated (only completed one dose of a 2-dose series), or who has completed their series (over 6 months prior for Pfizer and Moderna, or 2 months prior for J&J) and who hasn’t yet received a booster dose. The CDC does recommend a shortened 5-day quarantine for anyone in this group, followed by mask usage around other individuals for an additional 5 days. A significant change is that CDC allows a modification of mask usage for a 10-day period for anyone in this group who “can’t quarantine.” Individuals in this group are also recommended to test on the 5th day following an exposure and to test and stay at home if symptoms develop at any point.
More information on the CDC’s latest recommendations may be found in the graphics below or by going to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/quarantine-isolation.html
Covid Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
Fever or chills
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Muscle or body aches
New loss of taste or smell
Congestion or runny nose
Nausea or vomiting
Look for emergency warning signs for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:
Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
Inability to wake or stay awake
Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone