Covid-19: Understanding quarantine versus isolation

With the growing number of cases of people being infected, the odds of each one of us being infected or knowing someone who is, is growing exponentially. This is why we thought we would try to clarify when to quarantine or isolate and what this will mean for you and your family.

When do I need to go into quarantine?

Basically if you have been in close contact to anyone who has tested positive without wearing a mask or separated by a plexiglass wall. Close contact means less than 1.5 meters for 15 minutes (consecutive or not).

A person is infectious from 48 hours before their first symptoms appear onwards.

Quarantine is to last 10 days from when you were last in contact with that person.

How does quarantine work?

Quarantine means that you should stay at home and be sure not to come into contact with anyone else. You can still be with the other family members so long as you observe the social distancing rules.

  • Walking in the fresh air and any physical contact should be avoided during the quarantine period. Should you nevertheless have to go outside, for example to see a doctor, it is recommended to wear a protective mask
  • Have food and other essential products delivered to your door. If friends or acquaintances do this, it should always be the same person.
  • If you do not live alone, you should set up in a single room and leave it only when necessary. Also eat in this room and do not forget to air it.
  • Household items should be cleaned regularly and not shared with other residents. If you wash plates, cutlery or glasses by hand, you should always use water and detergent. Disinfect regularly touched objects that different people touch frequently, such as door handles.
  • Clothes, bed linen and towels should also not be shared and cleaned regularly. If your washing machine is not in the apartment, wash by hand but with detergent.
  • In general: wash your hands regularly.
  • Observe your state of health. It can help to keep a diary. Coughing, fever, malaise, muscle pain or breathing problems can be a sign of corona virus.
  • If you have symptoms, go into isolation.

When should I be tested?

You should only be tested when you develop symptoms. Do the online covid questionaire and follow the advice.

Do I need to be in quarantine whilst I wait for the results?

Yes you do.

I have been tested positive. Now what?

You need to go into isolation.

  • This means that you should wherever possible stay in only one room for the duration of your isolation period. The common rooms (bathroom and kitchen) have to be properly disinfected whenever you have been in them. The rest of the family must go into quarantine. Should any of them develop symptoms they should also be tested.
  • Clean all surfaces that you come into contact with disinfectant once a day.
  • Dispose of used tissues in a separate waste garbage can in the room where you are staying. This applies to all waste that has come into contact with body fluids. It is best to put them in a separate waste bag and then put them in the household waste.
  • Inform people with whom you have had close contact that they should monitor their state of health and go into isolation if symptoms occur.

Can I go for a walk?

  • No. You cannot go for walk whether you are in quarantine or in isolation. You must stay home.
  • However if you are in quarantine, you are allowed to take your dog for a short walk, keeping it on the lead and making sure that you do not come into contact with anyone. If you are in isolation you must organise for someone else to walk your dog.
  • If you need to leave the house (to get tested for example), then be sure to wear a mask and maintain social distancing at all times.

How long does quarantine last?

Quarantine last for 10 days from the last time you came into contact with the infected person.

How long does isolation last for?

Isolation last for at least 10 days after the first symptoms and 48 hours after the disappearance of all symptoms.

My test came back negative. Now what?

If you tested because you have symptoms then stay at home. You can come out of isolation 24 hours after the symptoms have subsided. This is also our recommendation for other respiratory diseases and the flu.

If you experience symptoms again or are worried, contact your doctor.

If you tested because you were in contact with someone who tested positive then you can come out of quarantine.

Swiss Covid App

If you have downloaded the app and are found to be positive then activate the app’s warning system so that others who may have been in contact with you are informed. Let anyone you have been in close contact to from 48 hours from the first symptoms know about your result so that they may make an informed decision and go into quarantine or get tested.

If you need more information go to the government’s website.

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