Exposed to coronavirus? You know when to insulate from quarantine

Health officials and medical professionals urge Americans to practice safe public health measures, such as wearing a mask, avoiding crowded areas, washing hands, and practicing social distancing to avoid contracting or spreading the coronavirus. But between Friday and Sunday, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) examined more than 3 million passengers at airports, increasing the likelihood of potential exposure to COVID-19.

If you have been or are likely to be exposed to COVID-19, it is important to know what to do to best protect yourself and others, such as ‘quarantine’ versus ‘isolation’.

Knowing when you should isolate yourself from quarantine can help you stay safe.

Knowing when you should isolate yourself from quarantine can help you stay safe.

Quarantine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is for people who believe they may have had close contact with someone who had COVID-19 and are supposed to stay away from others for the recommended period of time. Meanwhile, isolation is for those who are sick or tested positive for COVID-19, even without symptoms, and requires those who are sick or infected to stay away from others, even in their own home.


If you have had close contact with someone who has COVID-19, the CDC says the best way to protect yourself and others is to stay home and be in quarantine for 14 days after the last contact. Local health departments may have additional guidance on how to shorten the quarantine period, such as negative testing or waiting a certain number of days to see if symptoms occur. Those in quarantine should check their temperature twice a day, monitor for additional symptoms and stay away from people at high risk for severe COVID-19 disease.

On the other hand, those who are sick or who think they may have COVID-19 or have received a positive test result should stay home and isolate themselves for at least 10 days after the first symptoms or spend at least 24 hours without fever without the help of medication or symptoms have improved.


Those who isolate themselves should also “stay in a certain ‘sick room’ or in an area and away from other people or animals, including pets,” the CDC said. It is also possible to use a separate bathroom if possible. Asymptomatic patients with COVID-19 should remain at home and isolate until 10 days after the positive test.