Home Isolation Instructions

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For People Diagnosed with or Likely to Have COVID-19

The following instructions are for people who are isolating at home or another residence at the direction of their healthcare provider or the Sonoma County Department of Health Services. It also includes information for their households, families or caregivers. These instructions are not meant for people isolating at a location identified by the County.

If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or you are likely to have COVID-19 according to your treating provider, follow these two critical steps to help prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home and community.

  1. Separate yourself from other people in your home.
    • As much as possible stay in a different room, away from other people in your home. Use a separate bathroom if available. If a separate bathroom is not available, clean the bathroom after use (see next page)
    • It is especially important to stay away from people who are at higher risk of serious illness, such as people who are age 65 years and older, pregnant women, people who have chronic illnesses or weak immune systems. Consider alternate living arrangements for them if at all possible.
  2. Stay Home and Practice Home Care
    • Do not leave your home (except to seek medical care).
    • Rest, drink plenty of fluids, take acetaminophen (Tylenol®) to reduce fever (fever is a body temperature of 100.0F, or higher) and pain
    • Note that children younger than age 2 should not be given any over-the-counter cold medication without first speaking with a doctor.
    • Note that medicines do not “cure” COVID-19, and they do not stop you from spreading the germs.
  3. Seek medical care if your symptoms get worse, especially if you are at a higher risk of serious illness.
    • Symptoms that indicate you should seek medical care include:
      • Difficulty Breathing
      • Can’t keep fluids down
      • Dehydration
      • Confusion
      • Other serious Symptoms
  • If possible, call ahead before going to your doctor’s office or hospital and tell them you are being evaluated for the 2019 novel Coronavirus infection. This will help the health care provider take steps to keep other people from getting infected.
    • Do Not wait in any waiting rooms and wear a facemask at all times if possible.
    • If you need to travel by ambulance, you must notify the paramedics that you are under isolation for novel Coronavirus.
    • Do Not use public transportation.

These are the additional steps you should take to prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home and your community.

  1. Stay Home until You are Well and Recovered
    • Do not go to work, school, or public areas.
    • Stay home until at least 10 days have passed after your symptoms first appeared AND at least 3 days after you have recovered. Recovery means that your fever (fever is a body temperature of 100.0F, or higher) is gone for 72 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications AND your respiratory symptoms (e.g. cough, shortness of breath) have improved. If you never became ill but have COVID-19, stay home for at least 10 days following the date of your test (which is the date the test specimen was collected).
    • While sick, only leave your home to see a doctor, do not use public transportation. Use a personal vehicle if possible. If you cannot drive yourself, keep as much distance as possible between you and the driver, leave the windows down and wear a mask if possible.
    • If you do not have someone to help you, if possible, arrange for food and other necessities to be left at your door. If you need to meet someone at your door, wear a mask.
  2. Separate Yourself from Others
    • Stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home as much as possible.
    • If you have to be in the same room with another person or other people in your household, try to stay at least 6 feet from others and wear a facemask if possible. If you cannot wear a facemask, the people who live with you should wear one if possible, while they are in the same room with you.
    • Open windows or use a fan or an air conditioner in shared spaces in the home, if possible, to ensure good airflow.
    • Do not allow visitors in your home.
    • Do not handle pets or other animals while you are sick.
    • Do not prepare or serve food to others.
    • Do not care for children. If possible, arrange for another trusted adult to do so.
    • Anyone entering your room should wear a facemask if possible. After leaving your room, they should immediately clean their hands, then remove and dispose of their facemask in a lined trash can, then wash their hands again.
  3. Prevent the Spread

    • Cover your coughs and sneezes. When you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sneeze into your sleeve. Do not cough or sneeze into your hands. After coughing or sneezing into a tissue, throw away the tissue into a lined trash can and immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds – especially after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose, or after going to the bathroom, or contact with moist materials such as a tissue. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer with a minimum content of 62% alcohol can also be used instead of soap and water if the hands are not visibly dirty. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Avoid sharing household items. Do not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding other items with people in your home. After using these items, wash them thoroughly with soap and water. Laundry may be washed in a standard washing machine with warm water and detergent; bleach may be added but is not necessary.
    • Do not have visitors.
    • Clean and disinfect all “high-touch” surfaces every day. High touch surfaces include, e.g. counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, tv remotes, keys, keyboards, tables, and bedside tables. Also, clean and disinfect any surfaces that may have body fluids on them. Use household cleaning and disinfectant sprays or wipes, according to the product label instructions.
  4. Quarantine
    • People in your house, your intimate partners, and caregivers as well as people who were within 6 feet of you for more than 15 minutes while you had symptoms, are considered to be “close contacts”. Because these close contacts have been exposed, it is possible that they will get COVID-19.
    • They should self-quarantine (not leave the house and stay separate from you) for 14 days even if they feel well because it can take 2– 14 days for them to show symptoms. Contacts can be released on day 15 of quarantine if not symptomatic.
  5. What if you can’t separate yourself from others?
    • It is recommended that everyone stay at least 6 feet away from you while you are under home isolation. If this is not possible, anyone who continues to be in close contact with you will need to extend their quarantine period to 14 days from the last time they had close contact with you.
    • Your caregivers and household contacts should wear a disposable facemask and gloves if they clean your room or bathroom or come into contact with your body fluids, and/or secretions (such as sweat, saliva, sputum, nasal mucus, vomit, urine, or diarrhea). They should remove and dispose of their gloves first, clean their hands, then remove and dispose of their facemask, and clean their hands again.

Thank you for your cooperation in this important public health matter.

COVID-19 can be stressful for many people, here are some tips for managing emotional health during uncertain times at https://socoemergency.org/emergency/novel-coronavirus/mental-health/

If you have any additional questions, please see all of the options at  https://socoemergency.org/, or at Sonoma County 211 or by calling 2-1-1.