Q: “I am a fully vaccinated parent who got a positive on a surveillance test. I live with my two kids under 12 and fully vaccinated partner, who are also being tested. What precautions should we take now?”
A: If you test positive, 10-day isolation parameters still apply whether you are vaccinated or not and whether those in your household are vaccinated or not. For those in close contact, 14-day quarantine parameters apply unless they are vaccinated and have a negative PCR test after the 5th day following exposure.
If you are vaccinated and have exposure, you are encouraged to wear a mask indoors and outdoors until the PCR results are known. Here are the details.
If you test positive for SARSCoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, you need to isolate for 10 days to stop the spread of disease to those in your household and others. If you are asymptomatic, you are less likely to shed virus and infect others. However, contact with others is not risk free.
Isolation is for those who test positive or “cases”. Isolation means you remain at home for 10 days in a “sick room” and use a separate bathroom if possible. Do not share items like eating utensils, cups, or bedding with members of your household. Remain 6 feet apart, wash your hands, and wear a mask when around those vulnerable like unvaccinated children and immunocompromised people.
Quarantine is for “close contacts”. Quarantine means you remain at home for 14 days with similar restrictions as isolation. Close contact is defined as being within 6 feet of someone who tests positive for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.
Those with whom you have come in close contact in the last 5 days need to quarantine for 14 days to prevent the spread of disease. During those 14 days, they should be tested 3-5 days after their last contact with you. It can take that long for the virus to manifest. If they are positive, they become a “case” and need to isolate for 10 days. If they are negative, they need to complete quarantine for 14 days after having contact with you. The most recent suggestion from the CDC states that if you are vaccinated and have close contact with a person who tests positive, you should wear a mask indoors and outside until your PCR test results are known. Check with your local department for additional guidelines for those close contacts who are vaccinated.
The parameters seem complex. Just remember, in general “cases isolate” 10 days and “close contacts” quarantine 14 days unless they are vaccinated. Then wear a mask until PCR test results are known. These good practices will help stop the spread of disease. For a clear flow chart, see our post from earlier in the week.