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ACEP COVID-19 Field Guide

Table of Contents

Self-Isolation

Home Safety

How to self-isolate

Stay in your room or apartment. 

  • Do not go to work, classes, athletic events, or other social or religious gatherings.  

Ensure other household members stay in another room or limit contact with you as much as possible. Stay 6 feet away from other individuals at all times.

  • If available, household members should use a separate bedroom and bathroom.

Ensure that shared spaces in the home have good airflow whenever possible, such as via air conditioning or an opened window as weather permits.

Cover coughs and sneezes with your upper sleeve or a tissue. Then, discard the tissue immediately in a trash bin. Never cough in the direction of someone else. 

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Perform hand hygiene frequently, especially after coughing, sneezing, or throwing a used tissue in the garbage. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60% to 95% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry. Soap and water are preferred.

Avoid sharing household items. 

  • Don’t share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding, or other items. 
  • After using these items, wash them thoroughly. 

Keep your surroundings clean. 

  • Clean surfaces that you share with others, such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables (or any other object that you sneeze or cough on) with a standard household disinfectant, such as Clorox® wipes. 
  • Wash your hands after cleaning the area. 

Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting

If and when available, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products  for concentration, application method, and contact time, etc.

Hard (Non-porous) Surfaces

  • Wear disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. Gloves should be discarded after each cleaning. If reusable gloves are used, those gloves should be dedicated for cleaning and disinfection of surfaces for COVID-19 and should not be used for other purposes. Clean hands immediately after gloves are removed.
  • If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
  • For disinfection, most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective. A list of products that are EPA-approved for use against the virus that causes COVID-19 is available here
     
    • Additionally, diluted household bleach solutions (at least 1000ppm sodium hypochlorite) can be used if appropriate for the surface. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application, ensuring a contact time of at least 1 minute, and allowing proper ventilation during and after application. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. 
       
    • Never mix household bleach with ammonia, or any other cleanser. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.

Soft (Porous) Surfaces

  • For soft (porous) surfaces such as carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes, remove visible contamination, if present, and clean with appropriate cleaners indicated for use on these surfaces. After cleaning:

    • Launder items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
       
    • If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely.
       
  • Otherwise, use products that are EPA-approved for use against the virus that causes COVID-19 and are suitable for porous surfaces.

Electronics

  • For electronics such as cell phones, tablets, touch screens, remote controls, and keyboards, remove visible contamination, if present.
     
  • Consider using wipeable covers for electronics.

  • If no manufacturer guidance is available, consider the use of alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 70% alcohol to disinfect touch screens. Dry surfaces thoroughly to avoid pooling of liquids.

Linens, Clothing, and Other Items That Go in the Laundry

  • Wear disposable gloves when handling dirty laundry from an ill person and then discard the gloves after each use. If using reusable gloves, those gloves should be dedicated for cleaning and disinfection of surfaces for COVID-19 and should not be used for other household purposes. Clean hands immediately after gloves are removed.
     
  • If no gloves are used when handling dirty laundry, be sure to wash hands afterwards.
     
  • If possible, do not shake dirty laundry. This will minimize the possibility of dispersing virus through the air.
     
  • Launder items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
    • If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely.
       
  • Dirty laundry from an ill person can be washed with other people’s items.
     
  • Clean and disinfect clothes hampers according to guidance for surfaces. If possible, consider placing a bag liner that is either disposable (can be thrown away) or can be laundered.

Additional information is available at: CDC Cleaning and Disinfection for Households. Interim Recommendations for U.S. Households with Suspected or Confirmed Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Discontinuing Home Isolation for Persons with COVID-19

According to the CDC, a test-based strategy is no longer recommended to determine when to discontinue home isolation, except in certain circumstances. Researchers have reported that people with mild to moderate COVID-19 remain infectious no longer than 10 days after their symptoms began, and those with more severe illness or those who are severely immunocompromised remain infectious no longer than 20 days after their symptoms began (additional information can be found in the CDC’s Guidance on Discontinuation of Isolation for Persons with COVID-19 Not in Healthcare Settings). Therefore, CDC has updated the recommendations for discontinuing home isolation as follows:

Persons with COVID-19 who have symptoms and were directed to care for themselves at home may discontinue isolation under the following conditions:

  • At least 10 days* have passed since symptom onset and
  • At least 24 hours have passed since resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
  • Other symptoms have improved.

*A limited number of persons with severe illness may produce replication-competent virus beyond 10 days, that may warrant extending duration of isolation for up to 20 days after symptom onset. Consider consultation with infection control experts. See Discontinuation of Transmission-Based Precautions and Disposition of Patients with COVID-19 in Healthcare Settings (Interim Guidance).

Persons infected with SARS-CoV-2 who never develop COVID-19 symptoms may discontinue isolation and other precautions 10 days after the date of their first positive RT-PCR test for SARS-CoV-2 RNA.

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