The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has lately released new guidance in the COVID-19 Quarantine and isolation protocols. This guidance is meant to supplement – not replace- any federal, state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations as per advice by the CDC.
When we are infected with COVID-19, it is very likely that we will be carriers of the virus and can infect other people easily if we do not follow the safety protocols that the government and our health workers are telling us. These common precautions are mandated to prevent spreading the virus to our fellow citizens, especially those who have comorbidities and old age:
- Wearing masks
- Avoiding having contact with people who have high risks of getting sick
Isolating ourselves if ever we feel any symptoms of the virus is a must, may we be vaccinated or not. Below are the steps to take in isolating ourselves the proper way.
- Day 0 is the day you are tested (not the day you receive your result)
- Day 1 is the first full day you were tested
- If you develop symptoms within 10 days when you were tested, isolation restarts at day 0 on the day of symptom onset
If you have symptoms
- Day 0 of isolation is the day of symptom onset, regardless of when you tested positive.
- Day 1 is the first full day
If you test positive of COVID-19
- Stay home for at least 5 days and isolate yourself from others in your home (your are likely most infectious this time)
- Wear a high-quality mask if you need to be around others
- Do not go to places where you are unable to wear a mask
- Do not travel
- Use a separate bathroom, if possible
- Improve the ventilation in your home
- Don’t share personal household items, like cups, towels, and utensils
- Monitor your symptoms. If you have emergency warning signs like difficulty in breathing, seek immediate emergency medical care.
- Always have a good knowledge about what to do if you are infected with the virus
The next steps are how to end isolation depending on the seriousness of your symptoms
- End isolation after 5 days
You may end isolation after the 5th day if:
- You are fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medications)
- Your symptoms are improving
If you are unsure of the level of your symptoms and you feel like you have a weakened immune system, contact your healthcare provider for more guidance.
Regardless of when you ended your isolation, avoid being in contact with other people until day 11 and always wear a high-quality mask when indoors and around others, may it be at home or around public places.
The loss of taste and smell may still be around even after recovery but this does not delay the end of isolation.
After ending your isolation, you are still advised to wear masks through day 10 or if you have access to antigen tests, you should consider using them. If you have two sequential negative results 48 hours apart, you may remove your mask sooner than day 10.
After isolation, if your symptoms worsen or recur, restart isolation at day 0 and contact your healthcare provider for more ideas on what to do and when to end isolation.