Quick Question: What to do if you think you were exposed to COVID-19 during a holiday gathering

  1. Begin to quarantine yourself. While CDC guidance has changed to include shorter quarantines under some circumstances it is still ideal to quarantine for 14 days. Each jurisdiction will enforce the quarantines based on the current context. Some are reducing this time period to 10 day and others are reducing it to 7 days if you have a negative test in the 48 hours previous to day 7.  Days start after the last day that you had exposure to the person who tested positive for COVID-19.
  • What does it mean to quarantine? Do not go out in public! Arrange for your groceries and essential goods to be delivered or dropped off by a friend or neighbor. Stay in your own room and use your own bathroom if possible to avoid possible spread in your household. Sleep away from your partner or children. Household members who are vulnerable may consider going somewhere while you quarantine to avoid infection. Clean high touch surfaces regularly. 
  1. Watch for symptoms. 
  • Especially a fever over 100.4℉, cough, shortness of breath, body aches, headache, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea. Loss of taste or smell is one of the most specific symptoms that indicate it might be COVID. 
  • Seek medical attention if you have trouble breathing, chest pain, new confusion, or bluish lips or face. Consider buying a pulse oximeter if you become ill. 
  1. Get a COVID-19 diagnostic test (PCR, rapid) if you have a known exposure or begin experiencing symptoms. 
  • If you are not experiencing symptoms, still consider getting a test but wait until day 5-7 as many people get a negative test even if they are positive when they test too early. Even if you receive a negative result, if you can quarantine the full 14 days it reduces the chance of transmission. If you really would experience hardship, the CDC guidelines indicate you can end quarantine at 10 days OR at 7 days if you have a negative test in the previous 48 hours.  
  • You can be infectious and never develop symptoms or develop only mild symptoms. .
  1. Communicate with everyone you may have had close contact with, including those who attended the event where you may have been exposed
  • At the earliest possible opportunity, everyone who may have been exposed should be informed so that they can assess who they may have come into contact with since exposure. Given the current level of transmission it is impossible for contact tracers to reach everyone in time to prevent them from transmitting to others. As soon as you get symptoms of COVID you should tell people possibly exposed and then follow-up to tell them if your test turned out positive. 
  • Encourage everyone at the event where you think you were exposed to follow the steps below, too. 
  • Notify any schools, employers, daycares, where you may have visited while you were infectious. Remember you can be infectious 1-2 days BEFORE you show signs or symptoms of illness.
  1. You and anyone that you have had close contact with (e.g., household members) should stay home and not travel until the 10-day quarantine period is over.

For more detailed information about what to do if you have been exposed to COVID-19, visit our previous update.

Comments are closed.