PNP Guide For Patients Regarding Contact Tracing, Quarantine and Isolation
If you have a confirmed case of Covid-19 (or if you are presumed to be positive due to your symptoms and a known exposure) the local department of health will be reaching out to you to give you information about isolation for your infected family member and how to quarantine the rest of your household.
Since it might take a few days or more for them to reach out to you, we wanted to put out some basic guidance. More information can be found at the CDC and NJDOH’s Covid sites.
Isolation– the household member with Covid-19 is considered contagious from 2 days BEFORE they developed symptoms until 10 days AFTER their 1st day of symptoms. The contagious period is the time where we believe they can spread the disease to others. During this time, they should not leave the house unless going to a medical facility and should notify any medical facility that they are positive before arrival.
Quarantine household member and close contacts– all household members are considered close contacts and are recommended to quarantine for 14 days from the LAST day that they were exposed to the household member with Covid-19 while they are contagious. Since the infected person is contagious for 10 days, that means that the household members could be quarantined for as long as 24 days if the infected person cannot be isolated. To avoid this and quarantine safely in the house, the local health departments recommend that the infected patient stay in their own room as much as possible, use their own bathroom, always wear masks when outside their room and eat all of their meals in their own room. If you can do this in your house, your 14 day quarantine period begins the 1st day that you can effectively quarantine your household member.
Notification of Close Contacts– the contagious period starts two days before the 1st day of symptoms or in asymptomatic positives, 2 days before the day the test was performed. A close contact is defined as anyone who was within 6 feet of the infected person during this time for more than 15 minutes. Though masks are very helpful, they are not factored in while determining who needs to quarantine. You can create a list of close contacts that fit this description. We encourage you to notify those families in advance of the department of health, as it might take many days before they have a chance to contact you and them. Remember, this is a community effort to protect each other!
Testing of Exposed Patients- if someone suspects or confirms that they were exposed, they should quarantine immediately. They can participate in virtual school, but should not go to any events outside the house. Other household members do not have to quarantine, as long as the exposed household member is asymptomatic. Exposed patients without symptoms should contact their healthcare provider.