How to Quarantine | Coronavirus Resources | Loyola Medicine

How to Quarantine

Homes and Residential Communities

This guidance may help prevent COVID from spreading among people in their homes and in other residential communities.

The following guidance applies to:

  • People with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, including persons under investigation (PUI), who do not need to be hospitalized and who can receive care at home.
  • People with confirmed COVID-19, who were hospitalized and then determined to be medically stable to go home.
  • Household members, intimate partners, and caregivers in a non-health care setting of a person with symptomatic, laboratory-confirmed COVID-19.
  • People with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 who do not need to be hospitalized.
  • People with confirmed COVID-19 who were hospitalized and determined to be medically stable to go home.

Your doctor and public health staff will evaluate whether you can be cared for at home (this may be an over-the-phone evaluation of your travel history, exposure history and symptoms). If it is determined that you do not need to be hospitalized and can be isolated at home but have high risk or known exposure to COVID-19, you will be asked to self-quarantine. Your local or state health department may check in on you.

Follow these prevention steps until your doctor or local or state health department says you can return to your normal activities.

Prevention

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes.
  • Avoid sharing personal household items.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Clean all “high-touch” surfaces every day.
  • Monitor your symptoms.
  • Discontinuing home isolation.
  • Stay home except to get medical care.
  • You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care. Do not go to work, school, or public areas. Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing or taxis.
  • Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home.
  • People: As much as possible, you should stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home. Also, you should use a separate bathroom, if available.

Animals

You should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would around other people. Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick. If you are sick with COVID-19, avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a facemask.

Call ahead before visiting your doctor.

If you have a medical appointment, call your provider and tell them that you have or may have COVID-19. This will help the provider’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed.

Wear a face mask

You should wear a face mask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) or pets and before you enter a health care provider’s office. If you are not able to wear a mask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then people who live with you should not stay in the same room with you, or they should wear a mask if they enter your room. If they must be in the same room without a mask, then keep your distance from them (e.g., separation of six feet or more).

Cover your coughs and sneezes

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw used tissues in a lined trash can; immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60 to 95% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty.

Clean your hands often

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60 to 95% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid sharing personal household items

You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels or bedding with other people or pets in your home. After using these items, they should be washed thoroughly with soap and water.

Clean all “high-touch” surfaces every day

High-touch surfaces include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and bedside tables. Also, clean any surfaces that may have blood, stool or body fluids on them. Use a household cleaning spray or wipe, according to the label instructions. Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product including precautions you should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.

Monitor your symptoms

Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening (e.g., difficulty
breathing). Before seeking care, call your doctor and tell them that you have, or are being evaluated for, COVID-19. Put on a face mask before you enter the facility. These steps will help the provider’s office keep other people in the office or waiting room from getting infected or exposed. Ask your provider to call the local or state health department. Persons who are placed under active monitoring or facilitated self-monitoring should follow instructions provided by their local health department or occupational health professionals, as appropriate.

If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the dispatch personnel that you have, or are being evaluated for COVID-19. If possible, put on a mask before emergency medical services arrive.

Discontinuing home isolation

Patients with confirmed COVID-19 should remain under home isolation precautions until the risk of secondary transmission to others is thought to be low. The decision to discontinue home isolation precautions should be made on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with health care providers and state and local health departments.

Recommended precautions for household members, intimate partners, and caregivers in a non-health care setting of persons with COVID-19 or persons being evaluated for COVID-19

Household members, intimate partners, and caregivers in a non-health care setting may have close contact with a person with symptomatic, laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 or a person being evaluated for COVID-19. Close contacts should monitor their health; they should call their doctor right away if they develop symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 (e.g., fever, cough, shortness of breath) .

Close contacts should also follow these recommendations:  

  • Household members should stay in another room or be separated from the person with COVID-19 as much as possible and use a separate bedroom and bathroom, if available.
  • Prohibit visitors who do not have an essential need to be in the home.
  • Household members should care for any pets in the home. Do not handle pets or other animals while sick. _Make sure that shared spaces in the home have good air flow, such as by an air conditioner or an opened window, weather permitting.
  • Perform hand hygiene frequently. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60 to 95% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • You and the person with COVID-19 should wear a mask if you are in the same room.
  • Avoid sharing household items with the person with COVID-19. You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding or other items. After the person with COVID-19 uses these items, wash them thoroughly.
  • Clean all “high-touch” surfaces, such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and bedside tables, every day. Also, clean any surfaces that may have blood, stool or body fluids on them.
    • Use a household cleaning spray or wipe, according to the label instructions. Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product including precautions you should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.
  • Wash laundry thoroughly.
    • Immediately remove and wash clothes or bedding that have blood, stool or body fluids on them.
    • Wear disposable gloves while handling soiled items and keep soiled items away from your body. Clean your hands (with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer) immediately after removing your gloves.
    • Read and follow directions on labels of laundry or clothing items and detergent. In general, using a normal laundry detergent according to washing machine instructions and dry thoroughly using the warmest temperatures recommended on the clothing label.
  • Place all used disposable gloves, masks and other contaminated items in a lined container before disposing of them with other household waste. Clean your hands (with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer) immediately after handling these items. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Discuss any additional questions with your state or local health department or health care provider.