What Chicago’s top doctor wants you to know about isolation or quarantine – NBC Chicago

If you have been exposed to COVID or tested positive as the new BA.5 variant continues to spread in the United States and around the world, what should you do and have these guidelines changed?

Questions particularly arose after President Joe Biden tested negative following his infection and began to leave isolation before testing positive a second time a few days later.

Chicago’s top doctor issued a reminder Tuesday, noting, however, that she doesn’t anticipate COVID quarantine and isolation guidelines changing “anytime soon.”

“So just a reminder if you get COVID, regardless of your vaccination status, you need to stay home for five days,” said Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady. “If your symptoms resolve, resolve by day five, you can leave your home, but you should continue to mask while you are with others for days six to 10. We are seeing some examples, particularly with BA. 4 and [BA.5] of people who tested positive for longer, sometimes negative and then tested positive again later. We have indeed seen this with President Biden, for example. You must wear this mask from the sixth to the tenth day.”

The omicron subvariant BA.5 showed an increased ability to circumvent accumulated immunity in patients through COVID vaccines and boosters, and the disease also showed an increased ability to cause positive tests for longer periods of time. periods, even if the patients do not. You don’t get as sick with the new variants.

Some COVID patients infected with the BA.5 subvariant have reported that they continued to test positive longer than with previous variants, but no studies have been completed to show whether or not the variant keeps patients infectious for longer periods.

Arwady said the availability of tools like vaccines and, more importantly, COVID antivirals such as Paxlovid have helped the public make great strides in keeping the virus at bay, even as each iteration of COVID-19 becomes progressively more contagious.

She says these treatments should help avoid further major shutdowns or mitigations, but a new variant could change the math on that.

Currently, guidelines state that anyone who comes into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 should be quarantined – if they are not up to date on vaccinations.

The CDC notes that those who have had close contacts, but are either up to date with their vaccines or tested positive within the past 90 days, do not need to quarantine.

A close contact is defined by the CDC and the Illinois Department of Public Health as “a person who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more in a 24-hour period. “.

Before diving into the latest quarantine guidelines, you’ll need to know the difference between whether you should quarantine or self-isolate.

Those who think they have been in contact with someone with COVID and who are not vaccinated should self-quarantine. Those who test positive, regardless of their vaccination status, should self-isolate, according to the CDC.

Here is a breakdown:

Quarantine

If you come into close contact with someone who has COVID-19, you should self-quarantine if you are not up to date on COVID-19 vaccines or are unvaccinated. For these people, the CDC and IDPH recommend that you:

  • Stay home and away from others for at least 5 days (Day 0 to Day 5) after your last contact with someone who has COVID-19. The date of your exposure is considered Day 0. Wear a properly fitting mask when around other people at home, if possible.
  • For 10 days after your last close contact with someone with COVID-19, monitor 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 your test results. If you test positive, follow the isolation recommendations.
  • If you do not develop symptoms, get tested at least 5 days after your last close contact with someone with COVID-19.
    • If you test negative, you can leave your home, but continue to wear a properly fitted mask when around other people at home and in public until 10 days after your last close contact with someone with COVID -19.
    • If you test positive, you should self-isolate for at least 5 days from the date of your positive test (if you don’t have symptoms). If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, self-isolate for at least 5 days from the date your symptoms started (date symptoms started is day 0). Follow the recommendations in the insulation section below.
    • If you are unable to get tested 5 days after the last close contact with someone who has COVID-19, you can leave your home after the 5th day if you had no symptoms of COVID-19 during the 5 day period. Wear a properly fitted mask for 10 days after the date of your last close contact when around others at home and in public.
    • Avoid people with weakened immune systems or who are more likely to become seriously ill from COVID-19, as well as nursing homes and other high-risk environments, for at least 10 days.
  • If possible, stay away from people you live with, especially people who are at higher risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19, and other people outside your home for 10 days after your last close contact with someone who has COVID-19 .
  • If you cannot quarantine yourself, you must wear a properly fitting mask for 10 days when you are with other people at home and in public.
  • If you cannot wear a mask around other people, you must continue to self-quarantine for 10 days. Avoid people with weakened immune systems or who are more likely to become seriously ill from COVID-19, as well as nursing homes and other high-risk environments, for at least 10 days.
  • Do not travel during your 5 day quarantine period. Get tested at least 5 days after your last close contact and make sure your test result is negative and you have no symptoms before travelling. If you do not get tested, delay your trip until 10 days after your last close contact with someone who has COVID-19. If you must travel before the end of the 10 days, wear a properly fitted mask when around other people for the duration of the trip for the 10 days. If you cannot wear a mask, you should not travel for the 10 days.
  • Do not go to places where you cannot wear a mask, such as restaurants and some gyms, and avoid eating with others at home and at work until 10 days after your last close contact with a person with COVID-19.

Those who are close contacts of someone with COVID but are up to date on their vaccinations or have had a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the last 90 days do not need to quarantine, but the CDC recommends that they wear a well-fitting mask around others for 10 days after their last exposure and get tested after at least five days.

Insulation

According to the CDC, people who are COVID-positive should stay home until they can be safe with other people, including even other members of their household.

Health officials recommend a “sick room” or area for infected people and a separate bathroom, if possible.

But isolation may not be reserved for those who test positive. The CDC also recommends that those with symptoms of COVID-19 who are awaiting test results or who have not yet been tested isolate, “even if they don’t know if they have been in close contact. with someone who has COVID-19”.

How to get out of isolation?

  • You can end isolation after five full days if you have been fever-free for 24 hours without using fever medication and your other symptoms have improved (loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and there is no need to delay the end of isolation).
  • If you continue to have a fever or your other symptoms have not improved after 5 days of self-isolation, you should wait to end your self-isolation until you have been fever-free for 24 hours without use anti-fever medicines and your other symptoms have improved. Continue to wear a properly fitted mask until Day 10. Contact your health care provider if you have any questions.
  • Do not go to places where you cannot wear a mask, such as restaurants and some gyms, and avoid eating with others at home and at work until 10 days after your first day of symptoms.

So how do you calculate your isolation period?

According to the CDC, “Day 0 is your first day of symptoms.” This means that day 1 is the first full day after your symptoms started.

For those who test positive for COVID but have no symptoms, day 0 is the day of the positive test. Those who develop symptoms after testing positive, however, must start their calculations again, with day 0 then becoming the first day of symptoms.

According to CDC guidelines, people in isolation should:

  • Monitor your symptoms. If you have an emergency warning sign (including difficulty breathing), seek emergency medical attention immediately.
  • Stay in a separate room from other household members, 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, napkins, and utensils.
  • Wear a properly fitted mask when you need to be around other people.

NBC Chicago

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