Posted Friday, March 13, 2020 @ 3:16 PM



What is the difference between isolation and quarantine?

Whereas quarantine separates people who may have been exposed to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) from the general public to see if they get sick, isolation is a way to separate an already sick person from those who aren’t sick.

Quarantines last for as long as the upper limit of the virus’ incubation period, which is 14 days for COVID-19. Isolation lasts for as long as the virus is contagious, which means the person must be free of symptoms and test negative for the virus before isolation can end.

The CDC recommends self-isolation for a person who is showing symptoms of COVID-19 and is considered “medium risk,” meaning that they have traveled within the past 14 days to a country with widespread sustained transmission, have had close contact with someone showing COVID-19 symptoms, or have been on a plane with a person showing symptoms.

How to isolate if you have possible or confirmed COVID-19:

  1. Stay home, except to get medical care. Stay away from public areas, including work and school. Avoid using any kind of public transportation, ridesharing, or taxis.
  2. Wear a facemask if you must be around other people or pets. For example, you should wear a facemask during a drive to the doctor and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office.
  3. Monitor your symptoms carefully. If your symptoms get worse, such as if you begin to have difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider immediately.
  4. Get rest and stay hydrated.
  5. Call ahead before visiting your doctor. Call the healthcare provider ahead of time and tell them that you have or may have COVID-19, as it will help the healthcare provider’s office take necessary precautions to keep other people from getting infected or exposed. Also, confirm the time and location of your appointment to make sure you are going to the right place.
  6. For medical emergencies, call 911 and notify the dispatch personnel that you have or may have COVID-19.
  7. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  8. Cover your cough and sneezes. When you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue. Immediately throw issues in a lined trash can and properly wash your hands.
  9. Stay away from other people in your home as much as possible. Stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home. You should use a separate bathroom, if available. Do not allow visitors unless the person needs to be in your home. Shared spaces in the home should have good airflow – use an air conditioner or open windows.
  10. Avoid sharing personal items with other people in your household, like dishes, drinking cups, eating utensils, towels, and bedding. Wash these items thoroughly after using.
  11. Clean all surfaces that are touched often, like counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables. Also, clean any surfaces that may be contaminated with blood or bodily fluids. Use household cleaning sprays or wipes according to the label instructions.
  12. Limit contact with pets and animals. You should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would around other people. When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets in addition to wearing a facemask. Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus.
  13. Arrange to have groceries, toiletries, and medications delivered by local or state health departments. You can also ask healthcare providers about ways to get your laundry done if you do not have a machine at home.
  14. Always check with your healthcare provider before making any changes. Decisions as to when a person can stop their isolation measures will be made on a case-by-case basis, so make sure you check with your healthcare provider regarding when you can stop isolating.

For any additional questions about your care, contact UCF Student Health Services at 407-823-2509, your healthcare provider, or state and local health department.


Additional Resources:

Web Pages:

CDC Fact Sheets: