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Health and Fitness News

Quarantine and Isolation

Understanding the current guidelines for those infected with or exposed to COVID-19.

Your spouse has COVID-19, a coworker came down with the virus, or you have it yourself. So what do you do? If you’ve been exposed, it can take days or weeks for symptoms to show. In the meantime there’s a chance you could spread it to others. There’s also a high probability you may be infected but never show symptoms. So how long should you quarantine and what exactly counts as being “exposed”? And if you have the virus, how long are you supposed to isolate yourself, even after your symptoms are gone?

There are many questions and much confusion surrounding the SARS-coV virus. But by taking the virus seriously and following the following guidelines, you can do your part to help keep the deadly virus from spreading.

You’re Sick

When you test positive for COVID-19 or have a fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, or loss of taste or smell, you should take the appropriate steps to protect others from infection.

• Stay home and only leave if you need to get medical care. This means no work, grocery shopping, or public transportation.
• Isolate yourself as much as possible from other people and pets in the home.
• Wear a mask when you have to be in the same room with others, stay six feet apart, cover your cough or sneeze, keep your hands clean, and disinfect surfaces.
• Tell people that you’ve had close contact with that they may have been exposed so they can take proper precautions.
You can safely be around other people if it’s been 10 days since you first noticed symptoms, you have been fever-free for 24 hours without taking medications, and your symptoms are improving. Your employer, however, may require a negative test before you’re allowed back at work.

If you had a severe case of COVID-19 or have a weak immune system, you may need to isolate for longer than 10 days. Talk with your doctor about when it’s safe to end isolation.

Tested Positive with No Symptoms

You may not want to trust your COVID test results, but it is better to be safe than sorry. A positive test result means you need to stay home for 10 days, even if you aren’t experiencing symptoms. If you do develop symptoms during those 10 days, follow the guidelines above.

Exposed to the Virus

After having close contact with someone who has COVID-19, you should quarantine for 14 days after your last contact unless you’ve already had the virus in the past three months, have recovered, and are symptom-free. Why 14 days? It can take up to 14 days for you to develop symptoms after being exposed. During that time you may be contagious to others.

So what counts as close contact? If you were closer than six feet from someone with COVID-19 for more than 15 minutes, you hugged or kissed an infected, you provided care for a sick person, you shared a drink or eating utensils with someone who’s sick, or an infected person sneezed or coughed on you.

Additionally, if you take care of someone who is sick, you must quarantine and avoid contact with people outside your home for 14 days after the sick person is able to end their isolation.

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