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If you’re returning from an area that’s had a coronavirus outbreak, or if you’ve been in close contact with someone who tests positive, you may be asked to isolate yourself at home for two weeks, the presumed incubation period for the coronavirus.
It’s not easy to lock yourself away from your family and friends. These are the basics.
Isolation If you are infected or have been exposed to the coronavirus, you must seclude yourself from your partner, your housemates, your children, your older aunt and even your pets. If you don’t have your own room, one should be designated for your exclusive use. No visitors unless it’s absolutely essential. Don’t take the bus, subway or even a taxi.
Masks If you must be around other people — in your home, or in a car, because you’re on your way to see a doctor (and only after you’ve called first) — wear a mask. Everyone else should, too.
Hygiene Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue to cough or sneeze, and discard it in a lined trash can. Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. You can use sanitizer, but soap and water are preferred. Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, if you haven’t just washed them.
Disinfecting Don’t share dishes, drinking glasses, eating utensils, towels or bedding. Wash these items after you use them. Use a household cleaner to wipe down countertops, tabletops, doorknobs, bathrooms fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and bedside tables. That also goes for any surfaces that may be contaminated by bodily fluids.
Household members When around the patient, wear a face mask, and add gloves if you’re touching anything that might carry the patient’s bodily fluids. Dispose of the mask and gloves immediately. The older members and those with chronic medical conditions should minimize contact with the secluded individual.