As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Arlington, the Northern Region and Virginia, Arlington County’s Public Health Division is reminding everyone of what should happen under quarantine.
When the health department recommends you remain in quarantine for 14 days, it is because you have been in close contact with a person with COVID-19, which places you at increased risk of developing infection (including asymptomatic infection) and spreading the infection to others. If you are asked to quarantine, you should stay home for 14 days after your last close contact with a person who has COVID-19.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) definition of close contact to a COVID-19 infected person is any individual within 6 feet of an infected person for a total of 15 minutes or more in a 24 hour period, regardless of their wearing a cloth face covering.
Even if you test negative or feel healthy, you can still be at risk of spreading the infection to family, others at work, at school or in other activities, including playing sports, as infection can appear 2 to 14 days after exposure. By quarantining for 14 days, you lower the chance of possibly exposing others to COVID-19, especially those who are at higher risk from getting sick. A negative test for COVID-19 during quarantine does not mean you can end quarantine early.
The purpose of quarantine is to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus in our community. Quarantine helps prevent spread of the germ/disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms. People in quarantine should stay home, separate themselves from others, monitor their health, and follow directions from their state or local health department.
RELATED: When to Quarantine
Steps to take when asked to quarantine:
- Stay home for 14 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19.
- Watch for fever (100.4◦F), shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19.
- Stay away from others, especially those outside of your home and those who are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19.
According to the CDC, adults and children with underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness if they are exposed to the COVID-19 virus, compared to those without underlying medical conditions. NOTE: While children have been less affected by COVID-19 compared to adults, CDC says children can be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and some children develop severe illness.
Arlington County thanks those who have been following this guidance for quarantine, as it is a key step in slowing the spread of COVID-19.
To protect against COVID-19, everyone should avoid close contact with people who do not live in their household, wear a mask (cloth face covering), and practice social distancing and frequent and proper hand washing. We implore all Arlingtonians to continue to abide by this public health guidance. In general, the more closely people interact with each other and the longer that interaction lasts, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread.
Set Up Your Buddy System
If you become ill or need to isolate or self-quarantine, you may need help from other people. And other people may ask you for help. Plan ahead and reach out now – safely – to put your “buddy system” in place. Having a buddy system will make it easier to get things like food and medicine if you are unable to leave your home.
Buddies can be:
- Friends and neighbors
- People you know through work and social networks
- Members of faith groups
- Members of neighborhood associations (many have Facebook or NextDoor groups or other ways to be in contact)
- The Arlington Community Corps includes listings by Arlington neighborhood and is designed to link people who need help with nearby volunteers willing to help out—by delivering groceries and medication to other residents at higher risk from COVID-19.