COVID-19: When to quarantine, or isolate? What’s the difference?

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A man swabs his nose at a COVID-19 testing on the Martin Luther King Jr. medical campus Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control revised its guidelines on coronavirus again which is raising questions about who should quarantine or isolate, and for how long.

One thing is certain. There is a difference between quarantine and isolation. You should quarantine if you come into contact with someone who has coronavirus and you think you have it. You should isolate if you confirm you have coronavirus even if you don’t have symptoms.

WHO DOESN’T NEED TO QUARANTINE?

If you come into close contact with someone with COVID-19, you do not need to quarantine if:

  • You are 18 and older and have received all the vaccine doses, including the booster, and any additional shots for immunocompromised people.
  • You are 5 – 17 years old and have completed the COVID-19 vaccines.
  • You tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 90 days.

WHO SHOULD QUARANTINE?

If you come into close contact with someone with COVID-19, you should quarantine if:

  • You are 18 and an older and completed the vaccines but have NOT received the booster shot.
  • You received the single dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine more than two months ago and have not had a booster.
  • You have not completed the initial doses of the vaccine.

QUARANTINE GUIDELINES:

The CDC suggests a person quarantine for five days following their last contact with the infected person. Your day of exposure is day 0. Stay home and away from other people. If you are around people at home, wear a well-fitting mask. You should watch for a fever, shortness of breath, or other COVID-19 symptoms. If symptoms develop, get tested immediately and isolate until you receive the results.

If you test positive, the CDC suggests you follow guidelines for isolation. If you do not develop symptoms after five days, and you receive a negative test, you can leave your home but should continue to wear a facial mask until it has been 10 days since the exposure.

ISOLATION GUIDELINES:

People in isolation should stay home in a specified sick room to be separated from others and wear a well-fitting mask if they must be around others in the home. You should isolate a full five days. Day 0 is the first day of symptoms or the date of the positive test for a person with no symptoms. You can end isolation after a full 5 days if you are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of medication and other symptoms have improved. However, you should wear a mask for an additional five days while in public.

You can find more detailed information at this CDC link.

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