What is Self-Isolation?

Written By: Ministry of Health

Staying home is a precautionary measure to protect those around you – your family, friends, colleagues – from possibly contracting COVID-19. Self-isolation is an effective measure of prevention. We are asking people to take simple, common-sense steps to avoid close contact with other people as much as possible as you would with the seasonal flu virus. We know it may be a stressful time, but taking these measures will help protect you, your family.

As much as possible, you should limit your contact with people other than the family members/companions you traveled with. You should avoid having visitors to your home, but it is okay for friends, family or delivery drivers to drop off food.

If you are in a home where the others who live with you haven’t traveled you should minimize close contact with them by avoiding situations where you have face-to-face contact closer than 2 meters for more than 15 minutes. The other household residents do not need to self-isolate provided these precautions are followed.

Use your own toothbrushes, eating and drinking utensils (including cups and glasses in the bathroom and bedroom), dishes, towels, washcloths or bed linen. Someone in your home can prepare your food, but you should not prepare food for others. Wash your clothing and dishes separate from others in your home.

Use of shared spaces if you live with others

You should not be sharing a bed with others. You may need to speak with your family about sleeping arrangements. You should avoid sleeping in a common area during the 14 day period.

Minimize the time you spend in shared spaces such as bathrooms, kitchens and sitting rooms as much as possible and keep shared spaces well ventilated. Clean surfaces after you use them and try to avoid touching them after you have cleaned them. This means areas like kitchen benches and sinks tops.

Make sure you use separate towels from other people in your house, both for drying yourself after bathing or showering and for hand-hygiene purposes. Ask your family or the people you live with to remember to use their own towels.

We understand that it will be difficult for some people to separate themselves from others at home. You should do your very best to follow this guidance and everyone in your household should regularly wash their hands, avoid touching their face and clean frequently touched surfaces.

If you live with children

If your children didn’t travel overseas with you,  you should reduce your close contact with them, however, that may not be possible with children, particularly young children and it is emotionally difficult to not share affection with your children during the self-isolation.

Try to explain to your children what is happening in a way that is easy to understand. Tell them you are staying at home to protect other people. Try to avoid worrying children.

What we have seen so far is that children with COVID-19 appear to be less severely affected. It is nevertheless important to do your best to follow this guidance.

Your emotional and mental health is important. It is normal to feel stressed or lonely when self-isolating, but there are some things you can do to feel better.

Reach out to your usual supports, like family and friends, and talk about how you feel. We also recommend sticking to a routine such as having regular mealtimes, bedtimes and exercising.

If you feel you are not coping, it is important to talk with a health professional. For support with grief, anxiety, distress or mental wellbeing, you can call Dr. April Brown at 239-565-6921 or visit https://fortmyerstherapist.com/ for more information on Virtual Therapy.