Whether voluntary or mandated, we’ve been hearing reports of even U.S. Representatives participating in self-quarantines related to the coronavirus. But what does it mean to self-quarantine? Can you still drive to the grocery store? Can you invite family over for dinner? Do you have to miss work?
What is a Self-Quarantine?
Those who are participating in a self-quarantine have, in most cases, been in close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 or they themselves have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Self-quarantining essentially means isolating yourself as much as possible, and if that precaution isn’t taken, it could result in a mandated quarantine enforced by law.
If you are participating in a quarantine, that means not leaving home. If you share that home with others, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you stick to one area of your house, ideally with your own bathroom, and not mingle with family, roommates or pets. The CDC also shares the importance of not sharing things like dishes, towels, sheets, etc., to prevent germs spreading.
So What Can I Do During a Quarantine?
While there are many things the CDC recommends you do not do while under home isolation, such as the activities mentioned above, here are some things you can do:
- Catch up on your favorite shows
- Keep your mind engaged by doing puzzles or reading
- Take advantage of “no contact” delivery services. Many food delivery companies, including Instacart and Postmates, have begun offering no-contact delivery so someone who is ill doesn’t have to meet a delivery person. With this option, takeout and grocery orders can be left right at your doorstep.
- Talk to family and friends via video chat, like Skype or FaceTime. Sure, it can get lonely having to isolate yourself, but thanks to technology, you can still chat with family and friends, and even hold doctor’s appointments, right from your phone or laptop. Just remember to disinfect these devices often with one of the CDC’s approved cleaning products and follow their recommendations to properly clean surfaces.
- Work remotely or participate in online learning. In the wake of the coronavirus, many employers are allowing their teams to work remotely. This is to help prevent person-to-person contact and germ spreading. A number of colleges have also moved their coursework to be online so students don’t have to congregate in person. If either of these options apply to you, it could be a way of staying involved in your activities without leaving home.
How Long Do I Have to Stay Home?
If you’ve been diagnosed with coronavirus and are participating in a quarantine, the CDC recommends that you stay at home until you’re instructed to leave, stating “Patients with confirmed coronavirus should remain under home isolation precautions until the risk of secondary transmission to others is thought to be low.” This decision would be made by healthcare providers and differ on a case-by-case basis.
To keep our community up to date with the latest coronavirus news, we’ve created a Coronavirus Resource Hub that includes answers to frequently asked questions.