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Quarantine means separating a person or group of people who have been exposed to a contagious disease but have not developed symptoms from others who have not been exposed, in order to prevent the possible spread of that disease. Quarantine is usually established for the incubation period of the communicable disease, which is the span of time during which people have developed illness after exposure. For COVID-19, the period of quarantine is 14 days from the last date of exposure, because 14 days is the longest incubation period seen for similar coronaviruses. Someone who has been released from COVID-19 quarantine is not considered a risk for spreading the virus to others if they have not developed an illness during the incubation period. With that said, someone who does develop symptoms and/or has been diagnosed as having contracted COVID-19 may require a period longer than 14 days.
The best way to prevent illness is to avoid exposure to the virus. However, the CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, such as:
- Stay home when you are sick
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when you sneeze or cough
- Wash your hands often with soap and water (20 seconds or longer) or use alcohol hand rub if no soap and water are available
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands or after touching surfaces
- Clean and disinfect “high-touch” surfaces often
Patients with COVID-19 have mild to severe symptoms, similar to influenza and other viral illnesses, that can include:
- Fever greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit
- Dry cough
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Tiredness, body aches
Individuals at highest risk for severe illness from COVID-19 include those with pre-existing pulmonary disease, those with compromised immune systems, infants and the elderly. The vast majority of patients will have mild/moderate symptoms and do not require hospitalization.
If you suspect you are sick with COVID-19, follow the steps below to care for yourself and help prevent the disease from spreading to other people:
- Stay home except to get medical care, and separate yourself from other people in your home.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes.
- Clean your hands often.
- Contact your primary care provider if your illness is worsening. Tell your provider that you have coronavirus-like symptoms, so they can take steps to keep other people from getting infected.
- Your primary care provider may refer you to the LMH drive-through clinic, located at 131 McMillen Drive in Newark, where a clinician will determine if testing is appropriate.
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The CDC reports the virus is mainly thought to be spread between people who are in close contact (within 6 feet) with one another or through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Droplets can land in the mouth or nose of nearby people or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
It may be possible to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.