Do you know what to do if you think you might be sick or have already been diagnosed with COVID-19?
Hopefully you know that you shouldn’t host a party and expose lots of other folks…
What to Do if You Have Been Diagnosed with COVID-19
Unfortunately, lots of mistakes are being made that are causing COVID-19 cases to again rise.
“For COVID-19, a close contact is defined as anyone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 48 hours before the person began feeling sick until the time the patient was isolated.”COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions
“If possible, have the person who is sick use a separate bedroom and bathroom. If possible, have the person who is sick stay in their own ‘sick room’ or area and away from others. Try to stay at least 6 feet away from the sick person.”Caring for Someone Sick at Home
What happens if you don’t stay away from other people?
You may expose others, beginning in the days before you start to show symptoms (presymptomatic transmission).
Once you are diagnosed with COVID-19, be sure to tell all of your close contacts that they have been exposed, which includes everyone who was within 6 feet of you for at least 15 minutes starting from 48 hours before you began feeling sick. That way, if they aren’t fully vaccinated, then they can begin to self-quarantine and avoid exposing others if they get sick too.
How Long Will Your Isolation Last?
How long will you have to stay home, away from other people?
If you are in self-quarantine because you were exposed to someone with COVID-19, then you should stay home for 14 days after your last contact with that person. That’s the incubation period for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Keep in mind that your quarantine restarts every time you have a new exposure, although there are now options to shorten your quarantine.
On the other hand, if you are in isolation because you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, then you should stay home until:
- at least 10 days have passed since your positive test (if you have been asymptomatic)
- you are fever free for at least three days, have improving respiratory symptoms, and it has been at least 10 days since your symptoms began
You might also be able to end your quarantine early if you have two negative tests in a row at least 24 hours apart, of course, while fever free and with improving respiratory symptoms.
And there are new options to end isolation early!
According to new CDC guidelines, you might be able to end your COVID isolation after 5 days, as long as you either have had no symptoms or your symptoms are getting better, and you will continue to wear a mask for an additional 5 days.
If You Have COVID-19
What if you need to go to the doctor or ER after you have been diagnosed with COVID-19?
Call ahead so that they can be prepared and don’t end up exposing any staff or patients.
Hopefully you will have mild symptoms that will go away as you rest and stay hydrated, but if you develop emergency warning signs or symptoms (trouble breathing, chest pain, confusion, and trouble staying awake, etc.), then seek emergency care, being sure to mention that you have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
What if you need to go somewhere else?
You shouldn’t go anywhere or be around other people if you are in isolation after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
“People who are in isolation should stay home until it’s safe for them to be around others. In the home, anyone sick or infected should separate themselves from others by staying in a specific “sick room” or area and using a separate bathroom (if available).”Isolate If You Are Sick
When in isolation, you should stay home except to get medical care.
What if you need food, medicine, or something else that you don’t have in your home? Ideally, you would order it and have it delivered, being sure to not expose the delivery person. If that isn’t an option, call your local support services for help.
What about treatments?
More on COVID-19
- 7 Things to Know About COVID-19
- COVID-19 Vaccination Questions and Answers
- Get All of Your COVID-19 Questions Answered
- What to Do if You Have Been Exposed to COVID-19
- What is the COVID-19 Multi-System Inflammatory State?
- CDC – Parents or Caregivers Who Are Sick
- CDC – Caring for Someone Sick at Home
- CDC – Isolate If You Are Sick
- CDC – COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions
- CDC – Notification of Exposure: A Contact Tracer’s Guide for COVID-19
- CDC – When You Can be Around Others After You Had or Likely Had COVID-19
- CDC – Discontinuation of Isolation for Persons with COVID -19 Not in Healthcare Settings
Last Updated on January 5, 2022 by Vincent Iannelli, MD