U.S. now has more than a 1000 cases of Coronavirus, also called COVID 19 and 31 deaths as a result of the infection. Billions of dollars has already been allocated for the express purpose of containing the virus to prevent further spread.
During the epidemic peak in Wuhan, officials strictly forced the citizens to quarantine themselves in their homes whether they were infected or not. This had a major impact on the successful containment of the virus. As of now, new cases in china are less than 30 per day which is a huge contrast to the daily minimum 2500 cases seen just a month ago. The US CDC is now employing similar measures and has requested certain individuals to quarantine themselves.
This request includes anyone who has a recent travel history to a country with known cases of coronavirus, or has come into physical contact with infected people. Such people have been categorized as having medium-risk to acquire coronavirus.
So what does self-quarantine mean? Is it the same as self-isolation? Although they may sound similar, they have one important difference.
Quarantine vs Isolation
Isolation is done for confirmed cases of coronavirus to complete isolate the infected person from the general population whereas quarantine simply separates people who are considered medium-risk cases from their society.
Quarantine separates the person for a specific time period to observe onset of any symptoms. This time period is the incubation period of the virus, which for coronavirus is estimated to between 5 and 14 days. Isolation lasts as long as the infected patient is symptom free with radiological confirmation of resolved pneumonia or negative test result of coronavirus.
Steps to self-quarantine
For people who believe they may be among the medium-risk cases, they can quarantine themselves by following these steps:
- Taking a break from work and any other activities that will require you to go outside your home and into open environment with other people.
- Even within the confines of your home, keep yourself away from your pets or other members of your family by limiting your movement within your home, by staying in your own room.
- Make sure you do not share any bathroom supplies or kitchen utensil with other members of your household.
- Use proper safety precautions such as a mask to cover your nose and mouth if you come into close contact with anyone.
- Wash your hands every time it comes into contact with your eyes, nose, mouth or other secretory parts of your body.
- Clean any surfaces that comes into frequent contact with you such as your mobile, toiletries, utensils, house surfaces, kitchen tables etc. with a disinfectant.
- If your run out of supplies, try to have all needed things delivered to your doorstep
- Closely monitor for flu like symptoms such as fever, cough, runny nose or loose bowel movement. If you develop any symptoms, visit a doctor while taking appropriate measures to avoid close physical contact with other people.
Typically, 14 days of quarantine has been deemed to be enough but this varies depending upon the timeline of exposure to the virus. So before ending your quarantine, you can confirm with your doctor if it is safe to get out of your quarantine.