What to do if you shared the holidays with someone who’s now sick with COVID-19

The CDC still advises staying home for 14 days, but offers some shorter options if a long quarantine is burdensome.

You saw some friends and family during the holidays, and now one of them is sick with COVID-19. What do you do?

Stay home for 14 days after your last close contact with a person who now has symptoms. That means if you had close contact on Thanksgiving Day, you need to quarantine until Dec. 10.

“The quarantine period is still 14 days, and while symptoms usually show up about five days after exposure, evidence currently shows if you’ve been exposed you need to stay home for the full two weeks,” said Christina M. Breit, M.D., internal medicine physician with Norton Community Medical Associates – Mallard Creek.

According to Dr. Breit, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has offered some additional recommendations for those who would face a burden with a two-week quarantine.

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Quarantine can end on Day 10 if you need to return to work. If you got a coronavirus test five or more days after contact, you can break your quarantine after Day 7 if you’ve received a negative result.

Close contact, according to the CDC, means:

  • You were within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more while not wearing a mask.
  • You provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19.
  • You had direct physical contact with the person (hugged or kissed them).
  • You shared eating or drinking utensils.
  • The person sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on you.

While you are staying home for 14 days, watch for a fever, cough, shortness of breath or other COVID-19 symptoms. The steps for protecting others in the house due to your exposure are much the same as if you were actually sick.

Stay away from others, especially those who are at high risk. If you live in close quarters, try to maintain 6 feet of separation, sleep head-to-toe if you share a bed, disinfect high-touch surfaces and make sure everyone has their flu shot.

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