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Advice on COVID isolation: what steps to take once you’ve tested positive

Advice on COVID isolation: what steps to take once you've tested positive
Written by admin_3fxxacau

COVID-19 cases have been on the rise in Illinois over the past month, and more recently the number of counties at a “high” risk level has increased for another week.

A total of 19 counties were considered at a “high” community level on Thursday, up from 15 the previous week, according to the latest update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, some Chicago-area counties that were under a “high” alert level last week have since dropped to “medium.”

Still, COVID cases continue to persist across the state, with some health officials recommending masking and other precautions.

For those who contract COVID, there may be uncertainty and many questions. For example, how long do you have to self-isolate and when will you know it’s time to end your self-isolation period? Also, are the tests necessary to get out of isolation?

Here is the latest information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

What is the incubation period for COVID and how long are you contagious?

“A person with COVID-19 is considered infectious from two days before they develop symptoms, or two days before the date of their positive test if they do not have symptoms,” according to the CDC.

Regardless of the symptoms, people who test positive are advised to take specific precautions for at least 10 days.

“Let’s say someone is diagnosed with COVID and they’re in an environment for a period where they could be infectious, we know that with COVID, for the first five days you need to be isolated because you can certainly spread COVID at that time,” Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said during a Facebook Live in April. “And then you have to be outside within six to ten days with this mask on.”

How long do you need to self-isolate?

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

According to the CDC, people who test positive for COVID 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 a 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

Do you need to test out of isolation?

While out-of-isolation testing is not mandatory, the CDC says those who choose to do so should use an antigen test, not a PCR test. These can be taken towards the end of the isolation period.

“Take the test sample only if you have been fever-free for 24 hours without using anti-fever medication and your other symptoms have improved,” the CDC states. “If your test result is positive, you should continue to self-isolate until day 10. If your test result is negative, you can end self-isolation, but continue to wear a well-fitting mask around the others at home and in public until the 10th day.”

What to do after isolation?

After ending isolation, the CDC recommends individuals continue to wear a mask until day 10 or continue to self-isolate for a full 10 days if masking is not an option. They also urged such people to avoid anyone with weakened immune systems or those at higher risk of infection for the full 10 days.

How soon after exposure to COVID could symptoms begin?

According to the CDC, symptoms of COVID can appear anywhere from two to 14 days after a person has been exposed to the virus.

But the guidelines say those who have been exposed should watch for symptoms until at least 10 days after the last close contact with someone with COVID.

Anyone with symptoms should get tested.

What symptoms should you watch out for?

According to the CDC, these are the symptoms of a COVID infection:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body pain
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

It remains unclear whether certain symptoms are associated with BA.2.12.1 infections. However, with respect to BA.2, some symptoms appear to largely mirror a small number of symptoms commonly reported in omicron infections, including cough, fatigue, congestion, and runny nose.

For some people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms that disappear within a few weeks. For others, it may not cause any symptoms. The virus can lead to more serious illnesses, including pneumonia and death, for some.

For those who have been vaccinated and boosted, the cold-like symptoms experienced as a result of an omicron infection are mostly the same regardless of the subvariant.

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