What is Isolation?

Isolation is the separation of individuals with an infectious or contagious disease from those who are not sick to prevent the spread within a household. Isolation is necessary for any person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 by a laboratory test. Individuals with a COVID-19 diagnosis, exposures or symptoms are evaluated by laboratory tests and interviews to determine the appropriate duration of isolation.

The infected person needs to occupy a space that is separate from others who are not sick, including a separate sleeping space and separate bathroom. Meals should be provided room-service style with the food tray left outside the bedroom door and picked up by the infected person after the household member has walked away from the area. Isolated cases must stay in their bedroom or dedicated space, only coming out to use a dedicated bathroom. A bedroom/bathroom suite is an ideal situation.

When positive cases leave their bedroom or dedicated space and enter shared spaces of a home – even when other household members aren’t in the area – the potential for transmission of the virus to other members of the household via air/respiratory droplets or surfaces increases. This is not effective isolation.

If a separate space is not possible (for example, there is only one bathroom in the residence), then household members will be required to quarantine longer.

Household contacts to a positive COVID-19 patient will quarantine from the time their household member becomes ill until 14 days after the COVID-19 patient is released from their quarantine.

Similarities and Differences - Quarantine and Isolation

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1. What is mandatory quarantine?
2. What is Isolation?
3. What happens after I receive my quarantine notification?
4. What is the duration of quarantine or isolation for positive cases and close contacts or household contacts to positive cases?
5. Are there any laws that pertain to quarantine?
6. Why do I need to isolate from my household members?
7. If I'm isolated, can I leave my room to do things around the house?
8. What if I test positive and have young children and/or dependent household members for which I am responsible?
9. I tested positive for COVID-19. Do I need to test negative in order to be released from quarantine or isolation?
10. I've tested positive for COVID-19. Should everyone with whom I have closely contacted be tested too?
11. How will I obtain groceries or other necessities if I live alone, or if everyone in my household is quarantined with me?
12. Are there mental health resources available for me during these challenging times?