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> COVID19 Information for Households


Illustration of question marks with the words Frequently Asked Questions2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Information about in-home isolation, and cleaning and disinfecting

In-home Isolation
Release from in-home Isolation
Cleaning and Disinfecting

What you need to know about
In-home Isolation due to COVID-19

  • What is In-Home Isolation?
    You are suspected to have COVID-19 disease which can be easily spread to others. To minimize potential spread of disease, you must stay separated from others at a suitable location approved by the health department. Usually this can be accomplished in your home with placing you in your own bedroom with use of your own bathroom. If needed, the health department will arrange for alternate housing.
  • How will I know where to go?
    Expect a phone call from a health department nurse to discuss your isolation location. You then will receive a written isolation order from the health department explaining the limitations on your movement and for what time period. You are not to leave the approved isolation location for any purpose until released by Tompkins County Health Department. You cannot go to work, school, public places, or social gatherings.
  • What about household members?
    Household members are to stay away from you inside your home and will not be allowed to use your bedroom or bathroom.
  • What about visitors?
    Visitors or non-household members are not allowed to enter your home for the duration of the isolation period.
  • What should I expect while isolated?
    Health Department nurses will monitor your condition daily by phone to assess your health status. You must cooperate with this daily activity.
  • What about food and my prescription medications?
    Most people have support systems who can assist you. If you need assistance with basic essential daily living items like food, water, and prescribed medications, let your health department nurse know.
  • What happens if I develop new symptoms and need medical treatment?
    If you develop new symptoms of illness, you must call the health department immediately at 607-274-6604 to report. A health department nurse will determine if you should leave the premises for the sole purpose of seeking medical attention and will instruct you on the precautions you must take to prevent exposure to others.

Source: TCHD (March 2020)

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COVID-19 Release from Home Isolation

The criteria in New York State for release from mandatory home isolation is being revised to use the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) non-test-based strategy.

Release of Symptomatic Individuals on Isolation
  • Symptomatic individuals who were confirmed as having COVID-19 may discontinue home isolation once they meet the following conditions:
    • At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery, defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications; AND
    • Improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); AND
    • At least 7 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
  • This approach will prevent most, but may not prevent all, instances of secondary spread. The risk of transmission after recovery is likely substantially less than that during illness.
    • To further reduce the risk, individuals returning from isolation should continue to practice proper hygiene protocols (e.g., hand washing, covering coughs) and avoid prolonged, close contact with vulnerable persons (e.g. compromised immune system, underlying illness, 70 years of age or older).
Release of Asymptomatic Individuals on Isolation

For release of immunocompromised persons with COVID-19 from isolation (e.g., medical treatment with immunosuppressive drugs, bone marrow or solid organ transplant recipients, inherited immunodeficiency, poorly controlled HIV), consult the CDC Interim Guidance for possible strategies.

  • Asymptomatic individuals who were confirmed as having COVID-19 may discontinue home isolation under the following conditions:
    • At least 7 days have passed since the date of their first positive COVID-19 diagnostic test; AND
    • The individual has had no subsequent illness.

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What you need to know about
Cleaning and disinfecting

Prepare First
  • Wear disposable gloves when cleaning and sanitizing the surface. Gloves should be discarded after every cleaning.
  • If using a pair of reusable gloves, use them only for surface cleaning and sterilization for COVID-19, and not for any other purpose.
  • Consult the manufacturer's instructions for the cleaning and disinfectant used.
  • Wash hands immediately after removing gloves .
  • Clean dirty surfaces with detergent, or soap and water before disinfecting.
For effective disinfecting of most surfaces
  • Use a diluted household bleach solution, or 70% alcohol or higher concentration, or an EPA-registered household disinfectant.
  • Making a diluted household bleach solution:
    • Check expiration date on your bleach supply before using.
    • Know if it’s okay to use bleach on the surface you want to disinfect.
    • Make sure the area is well ventilated.
    • Never mix with ammonia or other cleaning agents.
  • Prepare bleach solution by mixing as follows.
    • 5 tablespoons of bleach per gallon of water (1/3 cup)
    • 4 small spoons of bleach per 1 quart of water
Households where People are in isolation due to a positive result for a COVID-19 test
  • Household members should educate themselves about COVID-19 symptoms and preventing the spread of COVID-19 in homes.
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces daily in household common areas (e.g. tables, hard-backed chairs, doorknobs, light switches, remotes, handles, desks, toilets, sinks)
  • In the bedroom/bathroom dedicated for an ill person: clean on an as-needed basis (e.g., soiled items and surfaces) to avoid unnecessary contact with the ill person.
    • As much as possible, an ill person should stay in a specific room and away from other people in their home, following home care guidance.
    • The caregiver can provide personal cleaning supplies for an ill person’s room and bathroom, unless the room is occupied by child or another person for whom such supplies would not be appropriate. These supplies include tissues, paper towels, cleaners and EPA-registered disinfectants (examples at this linkpdf iconexternal icon).
    • If a separate bathroom is not available, the bathroom should be cleaned and disinfected after each use by an ill person. If this is not possible, the caregiver should wait as long as practical after use by an ill person to clean and disinfect the high-touch surfaces.
  • Household members should follow home care guidance when interacting with persons with suspected/confirmed COVID-19 and their isolation rooms/bathrooms.
Clothing, towels, linens and other items that go in the laundry
  • Wear disposable gloves when handling dirty laundry from an ill person and then discard after each use.
  • If using a pair of reusable gloves, use them only for surface cleaning and sterilization for COVID-19, and not for any other purpose.
  • Clean hands immediately after gloves are removed.
  • Do not shake dirty laundry, to minimize the possibility of dispersing virus through the air.
  • 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 above for surfaces. If possible, consider placing a bag liner that is either disposable (can be thrown away) or can be laundered.

Source: CDC (March 2020)

Download NYSDOH Interim Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfection of Public and Private Facilities for COVID-19 (PDF, 3/10/2020).

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