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TLCHD highlights importance of quarantine, isolation during COVID-19 pandemic

There's a difference between quarantine and isolation, and what you should do during them.

TOLEDO, Ohio — The Toledo-Lucas County Health Department says the community is experiencing a significant spread and increase of COVID-19 cases.

RELATED: Ohio sets another record with 6,508 cases of COVID-19 in past 24 hours

Individuals waiting for test results are urged to quarantine and monitor for symptoms, which include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Emergency symptoms of COVID-19 are (seek immediate medical care if you are experiencing any of these): 

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face

The health department says quarantine helps prevent spread of disease that can occur before a person is showing any symptoms or]knows they're sick.

Quarantine is used to separate those who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others.

Individuals who may have been exposed to COVID-19 should stay home, separate themselves from others and monitor their health. It is also important, if possible, for you to stay away from others, especially those who are at a higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19.

Anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 needs to quarantine for 14 days from the date of last exposure.

"Close contact" means:

  • You were in six feet of someone how has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more
  • You provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19
  • You had direct physical contact with the person (touched, hugged or kissed them)
  • You share eating or drinking utensils
  • They sneezed, coughed or got respiratory droplets on you

The health department says that even if you get tested for COVID-19 during quarantine and get a negative result, you will still need to complete the full period of quarantine as symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after exposure to the virus.

Isolation is different from quarantine in that it is used to separate sick people from healthy people, or those who have tested positive for COVID-19 or have coronavirus-like symptoms.

People who are in isolation should stay home until it's safe for them to be around others. Anyone sick should separate themselves from others in the home by staying in a specific "sick room" or area and by using a separate bathroom if possible.

Those who need to isolate are people who have tested positive for COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms and can recover from home, or those who have no symptoms but have tested positive for COVID-19.

Here are the steps to take if you need to isolate:

  • Stay home expect to get medical care
  • Monitor your symptoms. If you have an emergency warning sign, seek emergency medial care immediately.
  • Stay in a separate room from other households members if possible
  • Use a separate bathroom, if possible
  • Avoid contact with other household members and pets
  • Don't share personal household items like cups, towels or utensils.
  • Wear a cloth face covering when around other people and keep as much distance as possible

You can end isolation after:

  • At least ten days have passed since symptoms first appeared
  • You are fever-free for at least 24 hours without fever-reducing medication
  • Other symptoms of COVID-19 have significantly improved

The health department says loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation.

The health department also says contact tracing is "an integral piece to the puzzle" of eradicating coronavirus in our community.

Contact tracing involves identifying people who are likely to get sick because of close contact with people who have tested positive for COVID-19.

Local health departments conduct contact tracing every day for various infectious diseases. If you’re sick, health department workers (epidemiologists, nurses, and other healthcare professionals) interview you and find out who you may have come into contact with and potentially exposed to your illness.

Limiting contacts means the virus isn’t able to infect other people because it has nowhere to live.

To protect patient privacy, contacts are only informed that they may have been exposed to a patient with the infection. They are not told the identity of the patient who may have exposed them, unless given permission to do so.