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If you’ve traveled over the Thanksgiving holiday, it’s time to go to quarantine.
Specifically, if you’ve left the state, California has issued a travel advisory advising you to be quarantined for 14 days. If you’ve been exposed to someone outside of your household or an existing pandemic for a long time, it’s also a good idea to quarantine yourself.
Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, a professor at UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and former director of the Division of Communicable Disease Control and Prevention at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, said people should consider quarantine as a middle position between isolation (which you if you know you are infected) and “normal” pandemic life (where you could venture outside while masking and maintaining social distance).
If you see or hear a word often, it sometimes loses its meaning. This is the case with “quarantine”. Here is a very brief FAQ about what you need to do to be adequately quarantined.
Question: What does it mean to quarantine yourself?
A. Stay at home for 14 days without going anywhere or seeing anyone outside of your household.
The whole point of quarantine is to bind yourself so that if you are infected, you will not infect anyone. Take the phrase “stay home” literally.
Q. What if I need something essential like food or medicine?
A. If you really need something, have it delivered. To avoid the possibility of the delivery person getting infected, just leave your package outside your closed front door, wait for them to leave, and wear a mask to collect it when you open the door. Tip good.
Q. What if I really need to leave the house to do something else?
A. Kim-Farley said that technically it is still important to stay on your property so you can bring the dog back for a bathroom break or take out the trash while wearing your mask. Other than that, the only valid reason to leave the premises is to see a doctor, he said.
The goal here is to avoid the opportunity to be with other people. That means no visitors, even if they stop by for a few minutes. No outside movement outside of your property. No places to go even if you just stop by the store for a few things, or pick up takeout or do a super fast job.
Q. What if I have to go to work?
A. There is no such thing as “self-quarantine other than work”. Leaving home and going to work can expose employees and customers to the virus. You may be eligible for paid sick leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
Q. What if I take a test?
A. Testing does not release you from quarantine at any time during these 14 days. A negative test isn’t a hall pass to do what you want. You can test negative for the coronavirus, still incubate it, and then be contagious the next day. A negative test a few days after quarantine can indicate that the viral load has not yet reached any detectable level. The only day that you can take a test and know for sure that you are negative is day 14.
Q. What if I feel sick?
A. If you are showing symptoms of COVID-19, it is even more important that you avoid others as much as possible. Contact your doctor and let him know what is going on and ask if he should have a test ordered. If you test positive, reach out to someone you’ve seen while traveling and let them know. If your symptoms are mild, follow your doctor’s instructions. You may not need to go to the hospital depending on your health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, see a doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms: difficulty breathing, persistent chest pain or pressure, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, or bluish lips or face.
Q. It all seems really strict. I’m bored.
A. If you don’t want to be confined to your home for two weeks, don’t travel out of the state. Remember, we only have to do this weird and different holiday season once. Hope is on the horizon.
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Quote: A brief guide to quarantine after vacation travel (2020, November 29), accessed November 30, 2020 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-11-short-quarantining-holiday.html
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