The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently changed its guidance on isolation and quarantine.
CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and professor of health policy and management, offers some indications if you or someone in your family has contracted Covid-19.
If a family member is diagnosed with Covid-19, what should they do next?
It should be assumed that a person who has just been diagnosed with Covid-19 is potentially contagious. Anyone else in the family should also be screened right away. It is possible that the person who tested positive for the virus was not the first person to contract Covid-19, and other members may also have tested positive.
What if everyone tests positive? Do they need to isolate from each other?
If everyone in your household has Covid-19, there is no need to isolate from each other. That’s because it is highly unlikely that they have different strains of coronavirus; They probably all got the same stress from each other, and they wouldn’t re-infect each other so quickly. The whole family, of course, must be isolated from others.
What if a child tests positive and everyone else tests negative? Who will take care of the child?
If a young child tests positive for Covid-19 and other family members are at high risk, having the child form a roommate with a parent is an option.
The two different ‘pods’ should not interact with each other during the isolation period, and a parent caring for a child with Covid-19 should wear a mask when with the child to try to reduce the possibility of infection.
How long should a person be in isolation?
The new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines essentially shorten the isolation period from 10 days to five days, with an additional five days wearing a mask. This means that you must stay completely isolated for the first five days. Then you can go out – to work, to groceries and so on – but you should wear a high-quality, appropriate mask when out in public. Do not go to places where you will be without masks, such as restaurants.
When it comes to people from the same family, this guidance means that you shouldn’t really have meals together or have casual, mask-free get-togethers with uninfected members of your family in a 10-day period. If families are in two capsules, they should not mix for 10 days inside their home.
Read more tips here.