COVID - 19
Self-Isolation Guidelines
COVID - 19 Guidelines
Self - Isolation & Safely running essential errands

Self - Isolation

Background

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. Often times, a person may have been exposed to the virus without knowing it (for example, when traveling or out in the community), or they may be infected without having any symptoms. 

Isolation is used to separate sick people from healthy people. People who are in isolation should stay home. 

As the number of people infected with COVID- 19 increases, self – isolation of those with mild symptoms is needed. In most low- and middle-income countries, self-isolation can be an immeasurably challenging task due to limited resources, overcrowded living arrangements and restricted physical space. This guidance, in addition to an overall direction on self-isolation, provides pointers on how to effectively manage self-isolation in settings with limited resources. This guidance also provides direction on how to achieve an impactful self-isolation experience for those living in informal settlements, urban slums and/or shelters lodging a great deal of inhabitants. 

Who should follow strict self-isolation protocols?

Individuals who are asymptomatic but think they may have been in contact with someone who has contracted COVID - 19.

Individuals who have fever or cough and have been identified by a trained COVID – 19 rapid response team as potentially being infected with the novel coronavirus but can’t get tested.

European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) defines a “contact person” as someone “who had contact with the case within a timeframe ranging from 48 hours (2 days) before the sample which led to confirmation was taken to 14 days after the sample was taken.” According to ECDC, two of the many high-risk exposure scenarios are: a) A person having had face-to-face contact with a COVID-19 case within 2 meters and for 15 or more minutes b) A person who was in a closed environment (e.g. classroom, meeting room, hospital waiting room, etc.) For a list of the different ways exposure can take place refer to ECDC’s technical report on Public Management of persons having had contact with cases of COVID – 19 in EU.

Steps for self-isolation

To Prevent Spread to the Public

Stay isolated at home. If you are in need of essential goods such as food or medicine ask someone else to get it for you. When receiving goods, make sure to keep a distance of at least two meters from each other by having them drop the items by the door for you to collect.

Avoid having visitors except if they are a caregiver wearing essential personal protective equipment. The caregiver should follow guidelines to avoid cross-contamination between the potentially infected individual and other household members. Caregivers should also try to mitigate the possibility of transmitting the virus to their own relatives.

To Prevent Spread to people living in the same household

WHO recommends that all individuals suspected of contracting COVID – 19 isolate themselves from other individuals, including pets, in a separate well-ventilated room and use separate bathrooms if possible.

If restricted physical space obligates you to share rooms with others, make sure that the entire house is well ventilated and keep 2 meters (3 steps) away from others, especially from those who are vulnerable.

Use dedicated linens, towels and utensils. Wash these items with soap and water after use and do not share them with the rest of your family. If you are unable of perform these activities yourself, have your caregiver wear a mask while washing the used items and ensure that they wash their hands once they finish.  

Clean and disinfect shared bathrooms and high-touch surfaces. If possible, have household members wait before touching shared high-touch surface areas (according to CDC, high-touch surfaces include phones, remote controls, counter, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets and bedside tables) in which you recently came in contact with. Drawing a bathroom rota can be beneficial. 

Wear a facemask at all times if you are around other members of your family.

Dispose of any non-reusable items that came in contact with your bodily fluids, in a lined trash can, out of the reach of other people.

When to come out of isolation

If you went into isolation because you were presenting with COVID like symptoms, you may take yourself out of isolation if:

  • It has been 7 days since you went into isolation after becoming ill.
  • You no longer have a fever. If you still present with a fever, keep isolating until your temperature returns to normal. You may still experience coughing after the infection is gone.

If you went into isolation because you were in close contact with someone who has contracted COVID – 19, you can end your self-isolation 14 days after the infected person you had close contact with started showing symptoms.