Hello, Gallaudet community:
This week we are providing definitions for three terms that are frequently seen in communications about COVID-19: asymptomatic, isolation, and quarantine.
When a person is a carrier of an illness but does not show symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath. In these people, the virus is still growing and they are contagious. They can pass the virus to other people even if they feel fine.
Up to half of all people infected with the coronavirus have no COVID-19 symptoms. Some of these people might be pre-symptomatic, meaning that they do not have symptoms now, but might develop symptoms later. A person who is asymptomatic for COVID-19 may still show symptoms for other illnesses. That person can be you or me, a family member, or a fellow student living in your residence hall. That is why it is especially important to wear a mask, practice physical distancing, and wash your hands frequently. Let’s keep everyone safe and healthy!
Keeping people with confirmed cases of an infectious disease separated from healthy people. Isolation can take place at home, a hospital, or a care facility. Those who are in isolation are contagious and should avoid others until the virus is gone and they are no longer contagious.
Isolation lasts for 10 days from the start of symptoms or positive test. Generally it takes about 10 days for the immune system to stop the virus and to stop being contagious.
Example: My COVID tests results were positive. I isolate and do not come in contact with anyone to prevent the transmission of the disease. I also do not go shopping or any place where people are around, especially indoors.
Separating and restricting the movements of people who were or might be exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. Individuals who want to reduce the spread of the virus can voluntarily quarantine by staying at home.
Example: I went to work and later found out a colleague had a positive COVID test result. I need to stay home and quarantine while monitoring my health to make sure I do not develop symptoms. If I go out of the house, it is extremely important to avoid shared spaces, use a mask, maintain physical distance, and wash my hands frequently.
People who have been exposed and who are at risk for coming down with COVID-19 might practice self-quarantine. Health care experts recommend that self-quarantine last for 14 days. This provides people with enough time to know whether they will become ill and be contagious to other people.
Why 14 days? The virus multiplies at different rates in different people. Some people can become sick in three to five days, while others become sick after 10 days.
You might be asked to practice self-quarantine if you have recently returned from traveling to a part of the country or the world where COVID-19 is spreading rapidly, or if you have knowingly been exposed to an infected person.
- Staying at home
- Using standard hygiene and washing hands frequently
- Not sharing things like towels and utensils
- Not having visitors
- Staying at least six feet away from other people in your household
Once your quarantine period has ended, if you do not have symptoms, follow your doctor’s instructions on how to return to your normal routine.
Information from Johns Hopkins Medicine, Coronavirus, Social and Physical Distancing and Self-Quarantine
Recap last week’s COVID-19 terminology at: