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Guidance

Guidance Information and Guidance for Persons in Quarantine due to COVID-19

Date: 11/18/2020
Organization: Department of Public Health
Referenced Sources: Information and Guidance for Persons in Quarantine due to COVID-19

You are required to quarantine (separate yourself) from other people because you have been exposed to the 2019 Novel (New) Coronavirus (SARS-CoV2) the virus that causes COVID-19. If you have COVID-19, you could spread it to people around you and make them sick.

The virus is spread through respiratory secretions (mucous and droplets from coughing, sneezing and breathing) from an infected person. Many people can have the virus without ever showing any symptoms, however, it can cause serious illness such as pneumonia (lung infection), and in some rare cases, death. If you are infected, it is possible to spread the virus to others even if you don’t have any symptoms.

This information sheet provides you with information about what to do and not to do while you are in quarantine. If you have questions after reading this, you can call your local Board of Health, or the Massachusetts Department of Public Health which is available 24/7 at 617-983-6800. 

During your quarantine period, you must not have visitors in your home. The other people who live in your home can continue to do their normal activities as long as they are not in contact with you, as described further below, and have not been identified as a close contact and put into  quarantine. If you test positive for COVID-19 and someone has come into contact with you, that person will likely need to be quarantined. 

Table of Contents

How long must you quarantine?

You will need to remain quarantined for:

  • at least 14 days from the date of last exposure; or
  • at least 10 days, provided all of the following are satisfied:
    • you have not had, and do not have, any symptoms;
    • you are tested on day 8 of your quarantine period or later using a molecular diagnostic test (e.g., polymerase chain reaction (PCR)) to detect the presence of the virus;
    • you receive a negative test result; and
    • you monitor yourself for symptoms for the full 14 days. If you develop symptoms you should contact your health care provider and be re-tested.

While you are in quarantine you should follow these instructions

  1. Do not leave your home except for urgent medical care. If you must leave your home for urgent medical care, wear a mask, such as a cloth mask, or a surgical mask if one is available. Call the healthcare provider before you go and tell them that you are quarantined due to COVID-19 exposure. For the protection of others, you should not take public transportation, ride shares (e.g. Uber or Lyft), or taxis to get to your healthcare provider.
  2. Wear a mask, such as a cloth mask, or a surgical mask if one is available, if you must be in contact with other people. Maintain a distance of six feet from others; when this is not possible, limit your time being closer to people to five minutes or less.
  3. Do not have any visitors in your home.
  4. Maintain six feet of distance from other people in your home. If absolutely necessary, have one person help you and do not have contact with other people in your home. Wear a mask, such as a cloth mask, or a surgical mask if one is available, when in the same room as that person. In addition, try to maintain a distance of six feet from others; when this is not possible, limit your time being closer to people to five minutes or less.
  5. If at all possible, use a separate bedroom and bathroom. Do not share towels or bed sheets/blankets with other people in your home. If you have to use a bathroom that other people use, make sure to wipe down all touched surfaces with a disinfectant after every use.
  6. Do not share eating or drinking utensils. Wash utensils normally in a dishwasher or by hand with warm water and soap.
  7. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and throw tissues away in a lined waste container. Then wash your hands.
  8. Wash your hands frequently using soap and water for at least 20 seconds each time you wash. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Anyone you have to come in contact with (including anyone in your home) should:

  1. Wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds often. If soap and water are not available, they should use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  2. Wear a mask, such as a cloth mask, or a surgical mask if one is available. They should be careful to only touch the parts of the mask that go around the ears or behind the head. Do not touch the front of the mask. They should wash their hands immediately after taking the mask off. In addition, they should try to maintain a distance of six feet from you; when this is not possible, limit their time being closer to you to five minutes or less.
  3. Wear disposable gloves if they have to have direct contact with your body fluids (saliva/spit, mucous, urine, feces, vomit) or handle your dirty laundry. Remove the gloves carefully without touching the outside of the gloves, throw the gloves away, and wash their hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.

Anyone you have to come in contact with (including anyone in your home) should remain aware of their health and watch themselves for:

  • a fever (temperature over 100.0 degrees). They should take their temperature in the morning and at night
  • other symptoms such as a cough, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, chills, muscle or body aches, fatigue, sore throat, headache, congestion or runny nose, new onset loss of taste or smell, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea.

If anyone you came into contact with has any of these symptoms, they should go get tested and then stay home while they wait for results. If they need to seek medical care, they should call their healthcare provider before they go and tell them that they may have been exposed to COVID-19. 

Other advice to keep your germs from spreading

  1. Your disposable gloves, tissues, masks and other trash should be put in a bag, tied closed, and put with other household trash.
  2. Your laundry may be done in a standard washing machine using warm water and detergent. Bleach may be used but is not needed. Do not shake out the dirty laundry.
  3. Surfaces in the home that you touch or that become dirty with your body fluids (saliva/spit, mucous, urine, feces, vomit) should be cleaned and disinfected with a household disinfectant according to the label directions. Wear gloves while cleaning.
  4. Your bathroom should be cleaned every day using a household disinfectant according to the directions on the label. Wear gloves while cleaning.

Questions?

Please call your healthcare provider, your local board of health or the Massachusetts Department of Public Health with any questions. 

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