The COVID-19 situation is evolving quickly and new guidance is coming out frequently. This blog was posted on March 10, 2020.
While the Iora community has not been impacted by the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), we are taking the threat of COVID-19 very seriously and want to share guidance on what to do if you believe you have been exposed to or have contracted COVID-19.
How do I know if I’ve been exposed to COVID-19?
COVID-19 is transmitted through respiratory droplets. To become infected, you need to be in close or direct contact with someone who is sick.
Close contact includes living with or caring for someone who has COVID-19 as well as being in close proximity of an infected person for an extended period of time (10 minutes or longer). Direct contact includes being coughed on, kissing, sharing a water bottle, etc.
If I may have been exposed to COVID-19, but do not have any symptoms, what action should I take?
If you’ve been in close or direct contact with someone with COVID-19, we recommend monitoring your symptoms for two weeks. COVID-19 symptoms include fever, dry cough, breathing difficulties and general body aches.
It’s important to avoid travel, work, school and public places in general for two weeks after being in close or direct contact with someone with COVID-19.
As always, cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing, and wash your hands frequently with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds, to help reduce the spread of germs. If soap and water are not available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
What action should I take if I think I may have COVID-19?
If you or a loved one are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, please call your primary care provider first. Calling in advance will allow your provider to ensure you get the right care without risking the health of other patients and team members. Your primary care provider will likely recommend home isolation (except to get medical care) unless your symptoms are severe.
If you experience trouble breathing or are in need of emergency assistance, call 911 and notify the dispatcher than you may have COVID-19.
What is home isolation in relation to COVID-19?
Home isolation is the act of staying home (except to get medical care) and avoiding public places such as school, work, public transportation, etc. in order to minimize the risk of spreading the virus. It also refers to limiting contact with anyone you live with, including pets. Those who live with others should limit the area of their home that they occupy, including using a separate bathroom if possible.
When is home isolation necessary?
Home isolation is necessary if you have tested positive for COVID-19 or have been in close contact with anyone who has tested positive with COVID-19. It is also recommended if you present with symptoms of COVID-19, even if you do not believe that you have been in close contact with anyone who was sick.
If you’re able to obtain a face mask, we suggest wearing one, even inside, if you live with others or will have someone in the same room as you (e.g. family members, visitor, caregivers, etc.). It is also best not to share household items such as towels, kitchen utensils, etc.
How long should I stay in home isolation?
If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you should stay in home isolation for whichever time frame is longer:
- Seven full days OR
- 72 hours after you are symptom free
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 but do not believe you’ve been exposed to someone with the virus, and have not tested positive for the virus, you should still keep isolated in your home until 72 hours after you are symptom free.
How can I stay up-to-date about the evolving COVID-19 situation?