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How to observe home quarantine after close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case?

Last updated: 04-18-2020

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How to observe home quarantine after close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case?

If you had close contact with confirmed cases of COVID-19, you should be under medical observation for 14 days from the last day of contact. During the quarantine period, it is necessary to keep in touch with medical observers, know the symptoms of the disease, master handwashing, ventilate, and carry out protection and disinfection measures for the safety of your family.The following are suggestions provided by  Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention for home observation.

How to observe home quarantine after having close contact with confirmed cases of COVID-19?

- Place every close contact in a well ventilated single room respectively and refuse all visits.

- Limit the movement of close contacts and minimize shared space. Ensure that shared spaces (e.g. kitchen,bathroom) are well ventilated (e.g. keep windows open).

- Household members should stay in a different room or, if that is not possible, maintain a distance of at least one meter from close contacts. Breastfeeding mothers can continue to breastfeed their babies.

- When entering the living space of close contacts, the caregiver should wear a medical mask fitted tightly to the face. Masks should not be touched or handled during use. If the mask gets wet or dirty with secretions, it must be changed immediately. Discard the mask after use and wash your hands after removal of the mask.

- Wash your hands following all contact with close contacts or their immediate environment. You should also do that before and after food preparation, before eating, and after using the toilet. If hands are not visibly soiled, alcohol-based hand rub can be used (pay attention to the safety of alcohol use to avoid accidental ingestion or fire).

- When using soap and water, using disposable paper towels to dry hands is desirable. If unavailable, use dedicated cloth towels and replace them when they become wet.

- Materials used to cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing occasionally can be discarded directly, or cleaned properly after use (such as cleaning handkerchief with ordinary soap / detergent and water).

- Avoid other types of possible exposure to close contacts or contaminated items in their immediate environment. Avoid sharing toothbrushes, cigarettes, eating utensils, dishes, drinks, towels, washcloths or bed linen. Eating utensils and dishes should be cleaned with either soap or detergent and water after use.

- It is recommended to clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as bedside tables, bed frames, and other bedroom furniture daily with chlorine-containing disinfectants and peroxyacetic acid disinfectants. Surfaces of bathroom and toilet should be cleaned and disinfected at least once a day. 

- Clothes, bedclothes, bath and hand towels, etc. of close contacts should be regularly washed and dried thoroughly. Place linen used by close contacts in a laundry bag. Do not shake soiled laundry and avoid direct contact of the skin and clothes with the contaminated materials.

- Use disposable gloves and protective clothing (e.g. plastic aprons) when cleaning or handling surfaces, clothing or linen soiled with body fluids. Wash your hands before and after removing gloves.

- If the close contacts of the confirmed cases present suspicious symptoms, including fever, cough, pharyngitis, chest distress, dyspnea, mild appetite, weakness, poor in spirit, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, palpitation, conjunctivitis, and mild muscle pain in the limbs or lower back, they should seek medical advice immediately. Specific recommendations are as follows:

I. Patients should wear surgical masks or N95 masks on the way to hospital.

II. Avoid public transportation to the hospital and open the windows of the vehicle if possible.

III. Wear a mask and keep hands clean at all times. Stand or sit as far away from others as possible (at least one meter), when in transit and when in the hospital.

IV. Any surfaces that become soiled with respiratory secretions or body fluids during transport should be cleaned and disinfected with chlorine-containing disinfectant or peroxyacetic acid disinfectant.

Stories in this series were contributed from Tencent Medpedia medical team, which were written and reviewed by medical experts from China's top hospitals. It is intended for informational purposes only, not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on our website. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor, or go to the hospital.


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