Health

What the CDC Quarantine and Isolation Guidelines Indicate – NBC Chicago

COVID-19 cases are gradually increasing throughout Illinois, and several Chicago-area counties are moving to a higher alert level.

According to the CDC, five counties in the state are currently at a “medium level” of COVID-19 transmission, and the federal agency has issued a series of recommendations to residents living in affected communities.

Suburban Cook County also issued an alert last week saying its gauges raised it to the “medium” level.

As the chances of contracting COVID-19 increase, some are asking the following questions: What should you do if you or someone you have been in contact with tests positive? How long should you quarantine and when should you get tested?

And do the guidelines change if you’re vaccinated?

Below we take a look at guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on what to do if you test positive or think you were exposed to someone who has COVID-19.

When to quarantine if you’re not up to date on vaccinations

If you have been exposed to COVID-19 and are not up to date on your vaccinations, meaning you have not received the full set of shots and boosters, the CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 5 full days and wear a mask if you must. Being around other people in your home.

Regardless of symptoms or vaccinations, those who are exposed to someone with coronavirus should get tested at least five days after their exposure.

Those experiencing symptoms should be tested, but if it comes back negative and symptoms persist, another test may be needed a few days later, especially for those using home kits.

People who believe they have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19 and are not vaccinated should self-quarantine and avoid travel for a full 10 days.

The CDC and the Illinois Department of Public Health define close contact as “someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more during a 24-hour period.”

Here’s what it means to self-quarantine, according to the CDC:

  • Stay home and away from other people for at least 5 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19.
  • Wear a mask when around other people at home, if possible.
  • For 10 days after your last close contact with someone who has COVID-19, watch for fever (100.4°F or higher), cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19.
  • If you develop symptoms, get tested immediately and self-isolate until you receive the results. If you test positive, follow isolation recommendations.
  • If you don’t develop symptoms, get tested at least 5 days after your last close contact with someone with COVID-19.
  • If the result is negative, you can leave home, but continue to wear a mask when around others at home and in public until 10 days after your last contact with someone with COVID-19.
  • If you test positive, you must self-isolate for at least 5 days from the date of your positive test (if you do not have symptoms). If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, isolate yourself for at least 5 days from the date symptoms started (date symptoms started is day 0). Follow the recommendations in the insulation section below.
  • If you can’t get tested 5 days after your last contact with someone with COVID-19, you can leave home after the fifth day if you haven’t had symptoms during that time. Wear a mask for 10 days after the date of your last contact when around other people at home and in public.
  • Avoid people who have weak immune systems or who are more likely to get seriously ill from COVID-19, nursing homes, and other high-risk settings, until after at least 10 days.
  • If possible, stay away from people you live with, especially those who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, as well as others outside of your household for 10 days after your last contact with someone infected.
  • If you can’t self-quarantine, you must wear a mask for 10 days when around other people at home and in public.
  • If you cannot wear a mask when you are around other people, you must continue to quarantine for 10 days. Avoid people who have weak immune systems or are more likely to get seriously ill from COVID-19, nursing homes, and other high-risk settings, until after at least 10 days.
  • Do not travel during your 5-day quarantine period. Take the test at least 5 days after your last contact and make sure the result is negative and that you have no symptoms before traveling. If you don’t get tested, delay travel until 10 days after your last contact with a person with COVID-19. If you must travel before the 10 days are up, wear a mask when you are around other people throughout the trip. If you cannot wear a mask, you must not travel for 10 days.
  • Stay away from places where you can’t wear a mask, like restaurants and some gyms, and avoid eating around other people at home and at work for 10 days after your last contact with someone with COVID-19.

Do you need to quarantine if you are up to date on vaccinations?

Those who come into contact with someone who has COVID-19, but are up to date on their vaccinations, do not need to quarantine. However, the CDC recommends that you wear a mask for 10 days after your exposure and get tested after at least 5 days.

When should you isolate yourself?

If you test positive for COVID-19 or have symptoms, regardless of vaccination status, the CDC recommends staying home for 5 days and isolating yourself from others in your home.

When should you end isolation?

You may end isolation after 5 full days if you are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications and your other symptoms have improved (loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and it is not necessary to delay the end of isolation).

If you continue to have a fever or your other symptoms have not improved after 5 days of isolation, you should wait to end your isolation until you have been fever-free for 24 hours without the use of medication and your other symptoms have improved. Continue to wear a mask through day 10. Contact your healthcare provider if you have any questions.

Stay away from places where you can’t wear a mask, like restaurants and some gyms, and avoid eating around other people at home and at work for up to 10 full days after the first day of symptoms.

After ending isolation, the CDC recommends that people continue to wear a mask through day 10.

According to CDC guidance, if you must isolate yourself:

  • Control your symptoms. If you develop more severe symptoms (including trouble breathing), seek immediate medical attention.
  • Stay in a separate room from other members of your household, if possible.
  • Use a separate bathroom, if possible.
  • Take steps to improve ventilation in the home, if possible.
  • Avoid contact with other household members and pets.
  • Do not share personal household items, such as cups, towels, and utensils.
  • Wear a mask when you need to be around other people.

Do you need to self-isolate if you’re up to date on vaccinations?

If you test positive for COVID-19 or have symptoms, regardless of vaccination status, the CDC recommends that you stay home for 5 days and isolate yourself from others in your home.

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