FACTS ON COVID-19
COVID-19 has been shown to spread between people. Someone who is actively sick with COVID-19 can spread the illness to others, so CDC recommends these patients be isolated either in the hospital or at home (depending on the severity of their illness) until they are better and no longer pose a risk of infecting others. Human coronaviruses typically spread through the air by coughing and sneezing. How long someone is actively sick can vary so the decision on when to release someone from isolation is made on a case-by-case basis in consultation with doctors, infection prevention and control experts, and public health officials and involves considering specifics of each situation, including disease severity, illness signs and symptoms, and results of laboratory testing for that patient.
Current CDC guidance for when it is OK to release someone from isolation is made on a case by case basis and includes meeting all of the following requirements:
The patient is free from fever without the use of fever-reducing medications for at least 72 hours.
The patient is no longer showing symptoms, including cough.
It has been at least 7 days since the onset of the patient’s illness. This recommendation is to help prevent most, but may not prevent all, instances of secondary spread. According to CDC, the risk of transmission after recovery is likely very substantially less than that during illness. Someone who has been released from isolation is not considered to pose a risk of infection to others.
Janet Swenson, RN, BSN, MBA
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