By Crystal Malchose, PIO Pottawatomie County, in collaboration with Liz Parthemer, Pottawatomie County Health Officer
This is an informational feature supported by the Pottawatomie County Commission to assist in providing educational information regarding the COVID-19 virus to citizens.
Question: If I develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19 while I am in quarantine, and my test comes back negative, do I still need to finish out my 14-day quarantine?
Answer: Yes, you will need to finish your 14-day quarantine. A negative test result does not allow a patient to end quarantine early.
Question: When do quarantine recommendations for exposure to a case of COVID-19 take effect?
Answer: If you have been told by a public health or other authority that you are a close contact of a laboratory confirmed case of COVID-19, you must quarantine yourself for 14 days after your last contact with the case. You are considered a close contact if you yourself have directly been within 6 feet of someone with a laboratory confirmed case of COVID-19 for 10 minutes or more. If you know someone, live with someone, or work with someone who is a close contact, that does not mean you are a close contact. You are a contact of a contact. While you should watch for symptoms, you are not expected to follow quarantine recommendations.
Question: What is modified quarantine, and who is eligible?
Answer: People who work in certain professions; healthcare, public health, and law enforcement, may be allowed a modified quarantine which allows them to continue working during their 14-day quarantine period while wearing appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), provided they remain symptom free. The decision to allow a modified quarantine is made by the local health officer.
Additionally, people who work in the meat packing industry may be allowed a modified quarantine if the facility that they work for meets the requirements for modified quarantine and classrooms of students and teachers/staff may be allowed a modified quarantine if their school meets the requirements for modified quarantine. Both of these modified-quarantines allow these groups to continue working or attending school (however, they are required to follow all quarantine requirements outside of attending school or work) during their 14-day quarantine period as long as they remain symptom free. The decision to allow a modified quarantine is made by the local health officer.
Those on modified quarantine should monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19, including checking for a fever of 100.4 (F) or higher at least twice per day and monitoring for lower respiratory symptoms including cough or shortness of breath. If symptoms develop during the 14-day quarantine period, employees should stop work immediately and notify their employer and public health.