Recently the CDC updated its isolation guidance based on the latest science about COVID-19 showing that people can continue to test positive for up to 3 months after diagnosis and not be infectious to others. People who develop symptoms again within 3 months of their first bout of COVID-19 may need to be tested again if there is no other cause identified for their symptoms.
Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. Quarantine helps prevent spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms. People in quarantine should stay home, separate themselves from others, monitor their health, and follow directions from their state or local health department.
If you have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, unless you have had COVID-19 within the past 3 months, you should quarantine. People who have tested positive for COVID-19 do not need to quarantine or get tested again for up to 3 months as long as they do not develop symptoms again. People who develop symptoms again within 3 months of their first bout of COVID-19 may need to be tested again if there is no other cause identified for their symptoms.
Close contact is:
- Within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more
- Provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19
- Direct physical contact with the person (hugged or kissed them)
- Shared eating or drinking utensils
- Someone with COVID-19 has sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on you
If you have had close contact with someone who has COVID-19 then you should stay home and monitor your health and symptoms. Staying home for 14 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19. Watching for fever (100.4◦F), cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19. If possible, stay away from others, especially people who are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19.
You should quarantines if you have had close contact with someone who has COVID-19 and will not have further contact or interactions with the person while they are sick (e.g., co-worker, neighbor, or friend). You should quarantine 14 days from the date you last had close contact. If you live with someone who has COVID-19 (e.g., roommate, partner, family member), and that person has isolated by staying in a separate bedroom, and you have had no close contact with the person since they isolated. Your last day of quarantine is 14 days from when the person with COVID-19 began home isolation. If you live with someone who has COVID-19 and started a 14-day quarantine period because you had close contact, and you ended up having close contact with the person who is sick during your quarantine, or if another household member gets sick with COVID-19, you would need to restart your quarantine. If you live in a household where you cannot avoid close contact with the person who has COVID-19, you are providing direct care to the person who is sick, don’t have a separate bedroom to isolate the person who is sick, or live in close quarters where you are unable to keep a physical distance of 6 feet you should avoid contact with others outside the home while the person is sick, and quarantine for 14 days after the person who has COVID-19 meets the criteria to end home isolation.
To view diagrams for each scenario click here.
Scenario 1: Close contact with someone who has COVID-19—will not have further close contact. I had close contact with someone who has COVID-19 and will not have further contact or interactions with the person while they are sick (e.g., co-worker, neighbor, or friend).
- Your last day of quarantine is 14 days from the date you had close contact.
- Date of last close contact with person who has COVID-19 + 14 days= end of quarantine
- I.e. Last close contact with person who has COVID-19 was Wednesday 8/5/2020, last day of quarantine is Wednesday 8/15/2020
Scenario 2: Close contact with someone who has COVID-19—live with the person but can avoid further close contact. I live with someone who has COVID-19 (e.g., roommate, partner, family member), and that person has isolated by staying in a separate bedroom. I have had no close contact with the person since they isolated.
- Your last day of quarantine is 14 days from when the person with COVID-19 began home isolation.
- Date person with COVID-19 began home isolation + 14 days = end of quarantine
- I.e. Person with COVID-19 starts home isolation on Wednesday 8/5/2020, last day of quarantine is Wednesday 8/15/2020
Scenario 3: Under quarantine and had additional close contact with someone who has COVID-19. I live with someone who has COVID-19 and started my 14-day quarantine period because we had close contact. What if I ended up having close contact with the person who is sick during my quarantine? What if another household member gets sick with COVID-19? Do I need to restart my quarantine?
- Yes. You will have to restart your quarantine from the last day you had close contact with anyone in your house who has COVID-19. Any time a new household member gets sick with COVID-19 and you had close contact, you will need to restart your quarantine.
- Date of additional close contact with person who has COVID-19 + 14 days = end of quarantine
- I.e. Start of 1st quarantine on Wednesday 8/5/2020. On Sunday 8/9/2020 had additional contact with someone else who got sick, then quarantine starts over on Sunday 8/9/2020. New last day of quarantine is Sunday 8/23/20
For more information on when to quarantine, please click here.
The criteria to end home isolation is when someone with COVID-19 has isolated for at least 10 days after symptom onset and until 24 hours after their fever subsides without the use of fever-reducing medications.
Wilkes Health wants to remind the public that community transmission is happening in Wilkes County. As community spread of COVID-19 continues in North Carolina, clusters of cases will likely occur linked to occupational, educational, and other community settings. Every person is a potential carrier, even if no symptoms are present, so it’s urgent that every person -sick or healthy- stay home to the fullest extent possible and help break the chain of transmission. Wilkes Health wants to continue to encourage people to protect themselves to help lessen the spread of COVID-19 in our community. There are many ways we can all protect ourselves and our communities. If you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, we would recommend you be tested. This means if you are sick with a fever, cough or other mild symptoms, call your healthcare provider or Wilkes Health. Please do not just show up to a doctor’s office without calling first. This will help your provider prepare should you need to be tested and lessen the potential exposure to others.
If you have a medical emergency, please call 911 immediately.
If you go out you should practice the three W’s: Wear, Wait, and Wash.
•Wear a face covering,
•Wait 6 feet apart from other people,
•Wash your hands often.
How to Protect Yourself
- Practice social distancing which means avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people, keeping 6 feet or more between you and others and remaining at home to the greatest extent possible
- Frequent hand washing
- Cover your cough or sneeze
- Keep distance from others who are sick
- Avoid touching your face
- Clean and disinfect high touch surfaces in common areas like doorknobs, remotes, lightswitches, tables and handles
- Wear cloth mask or face covering when out in public where you may be around people like grocery stores or pharmacies.
COVID-19 Signs & Symptoms
Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure. According to the CDC, people with COVID-19 have had a wide range of reported symptoms.
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
People at high risk include anyone who:
- Is 65 years of age or older
- Lives in a nursing home or long-term care facility
- Have a high-risk condition that includes:
- Chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
- Heart disease with complications
- Compromised immune system
- Severe obesity – body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher
- Other underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, such as diabetes, renal failure or liver disease
People who are at high risk should stay home to the greatest extent possible to decrease the chance of infection.
NCDHHS has new tools to help people know if they should consider being tested for COVID-19 and to find a nearby testing place.
- Check My Symptoms (www.ncdhhs.gov/symptoms), a public website that allows people to enter their symptoms to determine if they should consider getting tested for COVID-19. If a test is recommended, they will receive a link to a list of nearby testing sites via email or text.
- Find My Testing Place (www.ncdhhs.gov/TestingPlace), a public website that allows people to enter their county or ZIP code and access a list of nearby testing site locations online.
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.
North Carolina resources can be found on the Division of Public Health website at www.ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus. To view the case count for North Carolina, including a county map, please visit the NC DHHS website here.