When Is The Right Time To End Self-Isolation, Home Quarantine?

Not all people who experience the symptoms of COVID-19 need to be hospitalized. Doctors commonly recommend that those with mild conditions stay at home and self-isolate until they recover. But when can you tell that you or someone infected is safe to go out?

Home isolation plays a very important role in preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus. Research suggests that people with mild COVID-19 symptoms can continue to transmit the virus to others eight days after they start feeling sick. 

But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that self-isolation should continue for at least 14 days to make sure the patient has fully recovered. The agency has released its guidelines to help people decide when to stop isolating.

It is important to know that the guidelines depend on whether or not a potentially infected person was tested. If doctors decide not to conduct a test, the CDC recommends that an individual stays isolated until they meet three criteria:

  • Fever stops for at least 72 hours without medication
  • Other symptoms of COVID-19, like shortness of breath or coughing, have improved
  • It has been seven days since the onset of symptoms

Those who were advised to get tested for coronavirus should follow a different guideline before leaving isolation. The CDC said they should test negative twice, 24 hours apart.

Tests must be provided after the fever and other symptoms have improved. If the patient met all these criteria, the CDC said it is safe to return to regular daily activities and interact with people again. 

After recovery, the agency recommends disinfecting all objects and surfaces that the person touched during the isolation. Patients should also wash their clothes immediately.

When Will COVID-19 Patients Stop Spreading Virus

Researchers from Germany reported in March that the amounts of coronavirus released by infected people start to decrease five days after showing symptoms. Patients with mild cases then become no longer infectious eight days after onset of symptoms, Business Insider reported.

In people with severe conditions, researchers found they become not infectious after day 10 or 11. If you are showing symptoms of COVID-19, contact a health care provider before going to a hospital or clinic to check your condition.

China Coronavirus COVID-19 An elderly woman arrives in an ambulance to Wuhan Red Cross Hospital after being transferred from another hospital after recovering from the COVID-19 coronavirus in Wuhan on March 30, 2020. HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images

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