Isolation is the separation of individuals with an infectious or contagious disease from those who are not sick to prevent the spread within a household. Isolation is necessary for any person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 by a laboratory test. Individuals with a COVID-19 diagnosis, exposures or symptoms are evaluated by laboratory tests and interviews to determine the appropriate duration of isolation.
The infected person needs to occupy a space that is separate from others who are not sick, including a separate sleeping space and separate bathroom. Meals should be provided room-service style with the food tray left outside the bedroom door and picked up by the infected person after the household member has walked away from the area. Isolated cases must stay in their bedroom or dedicated space, only coming out to use a dedicated bathroom. A bedroom/bathroom suite is an ideal situation.
When positive cases leave their bedroom or dedicated space and enter shared spaces of a home – even when other household members aren’t in the area – the potential for transmission of the virus to other members of the household via air/respiratory droplets or surfaces increases. This is not effective isolation.
If a separate space is not possible (for example, there is only one bathroom in the residence), then household members will be required to quarantine longer.
Household contacts to a positive COVID-19 patient will quarantine from the time their household member becomes ill until 14 days after the COVID-19 patient is released from their quarantine.
Similarities and Differences - Quarantine and Isolation