COVID-19 cases are gradually increasing across the state, and several counties in the Chicago area are reaching a higher COVID alert level.
According to the CDC, five counties in the state are currently at an “average community level” of COVID transmission, with the federal agency making a series of recommendations for residents living in affected communities.
Suburban Cook County also issued an alert on Friday saying its metrics also brought it to the “medium” level.
As the chances of contracting an infection increase, some are asking the following questions: What should you do if you or someone you have had close contact with tests positive for coronavirus? How long should you quarantine yourself and when should you get tested?
And do the guidelines change at all if you’ve been vaccinated?
Here is an overview of the advice of the Centers for Disaster Control and Prevention on what to do if you test positive or if you think you have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19.
When to quarantine, if you are not up to date on vaccinations
If you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 and aren’t current on your COVID vaccination — meaning you haven’t received the full set of vaccines and boosters — the CDC recommends that you stay home and quarantine for at least 5 full days and wear a properly fitted mask if you must be around other people in your home.
Regardless of symptoms or vaccinations, people exposed to someone with coronavirus should get tested at least five days after their exposure.
Those with symptoms should get tested as symptoms develop, but if one test is negative and symptoms persist, another test may be needed a few days later, especially for those using home test kits.
People who believe they have been in contact with someone who has COVID and are not vaccinated should self-quarantine and avoid travel for a full 10 days.
A close contact is defined by the CDC and the Illinois Department of Public Health as “a person who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more in a 24-hour period. “.
Here’s what quarantine looks like, according to the CDC:
- Stay home and away from other people for at least 5 days after your last contact with someone who has COVID-19.
- Wear a properly fitting mask when you are with other people at home, if possible.
- For 10 days after your last close contact with someone with COVID-19, monitor for fever (100.4◦F or higher), cough, shortness of breath, or other Covid-19 symptoms.
- If you develop symptoms, get tested immediately and self-isolate until you receive your test results. If you test positive, follow the isolation recommendations.
- If you do not develop symptoms, get tested at least 5 days after your last close contact with someone with COVID-19.
- If you test negative, you can leave your home, but continue to wear a properly fitted mask when around other people at home and in public until 10 days after your last close contact with someone with COVID -19.
- If you test positive, you should self-isolate for at least 5 days from the date of your positive test (if you don’t have symptoms). If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, self-isolate for at least 5 days from the date your symptoms started (date symptoms started is day 0). Follow the recommendations in the insulation section below.
- If you are unable to get tested 5 days after the last close contact with someone who has COVID-19, you can leave your home after the 5th day if you had no symptoms of COVID-19 during the test. 5 day period. Wear a properly fitted mask for 10 days after the date of your last close contact when around others at home and in public.
- Avoid people who have weakened immune systems or are more likely to get very sick of COVID-19, and nursing homes and other high-risk settings, for up to at least 10 days.
- If possible, stay away from people you live with, especially people who are within walking distance. higher risk for becoming very ill with COVID-19, as well as other people outside your home for 10 days after your last close contact with someone with COVID-19.
- If you cannot quarantine yourself, you must wear a properly fitting mask for 10 days when you are with other people at home and in public.
- If you cannot wear a mask around other people, you must continue to self-quarantine for 10 days. Avoid people with weakened immune systems or who are more likely to become seriously ill from COVID-19, as well as nursing homes and other high-risk environments, for at least 10 days.
- Do not travel during your 5 day quarantine period. Get tested at least 5 days after your last close contact and make sure your test result is negative and you have no symptoms before travelling. If you do not get tested, delay your trip until 10 days after your last close contact with someone who has COVID-19. If you must travel before the end of the 10 days, wear a properly fitted mask when around other people for the duration of the trip for the 10 days. If you cannot wear a mask, you should not travel for the 10 days.
- 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 last close contact with a person with COVID-19.
Do you need to quarantine if you are up to date on vaccinations?
Those who are close contacts of someone with COVID but are up to date on their vaccinations or who have had a confirmed case of COVID in the last 90 days do not need to self-quarantine, but the CDC advises them. recommends wearing a properly fitted mask around others for 10 days after their last exposure and getting tested after at least five days.
When to isolate
If you have tested positive for COVID-19 or are showing symptoms, regardless of your vaccination status, the CDC recommends staying home for 5 days and isolate others in your home.
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.
- After ending isolation, CDC recommends individuals continue to wear a mask until day 10
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 self-isolate if you are up to date with your vaccinations?
According to the CDC, if you have tested positive for COVID-19 or are showing symptoms, regardless of your vaccination status, the CDC recommends staying home for 5 days and isolate others in your home.