Saturday, October 10, 2020 Why you should NOT move home to isolate or quarantine
Quarantine and isolation are not a punishment. They are simply ways of keeping others safe when you may be ill. That being said, you may feel like turning to family or close friends for support if you find yourself in these situations. And that’s understandable, but before you pack up and move home you should fully think through the situation.
If you’ve been exposed to an individual with COVID-19 or show symptoms for the virus, you should begin to quarantine. Quarantine is a public health strategy of limiting contact to prevent the spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they’re sick (pre-symptomatic) or if they’re infected with the virus without feeling symptoms (asymptomatic).
So where should you go? In most cases, you can stay put and safely quarantine where you currently live and connect virtually with friends and family for support.
If you choose to quarantine somewhere else:
- You may unknowingly increase exposure for others in the household… and this could result in both you and the other person (maybe your family or friends) becoming infected.
- You should get tested on day 5 or 6 of your quarantine period when the virus would be most likely to be detected. Depending where you’d go, you may have limited access to testing. By staying close to campus you can sign up for free testing at the university’s TestNebraska site in the 17th & R St. parking garage.
- Your family/friends could have to quarantine for 24 days. If you go home to quarantine and test positive, then you’ll need to isolate in place. Other members of the household will be at high risk for COVID-19 because of your presence. You’ll need to isolate for at least 10 days, during which your household members will need to quarantine from you. Once your isolation is over, your household members will need to continue to quarantine for 14 days. That’s a minimum of 24 days of quarantine for your household. Nobody wants that.
Because of the impact that quarantine can have on others, the CDC recommends that college students stay in their current place of residence.
If you’ve tested positive for COVID-19, you’ll need to isolate. Isolation is a public health strategy to reduce the spread of the virus by keeping those who are infected from those who are not.
The university will provide isolation housing at no additional cost to students who need it. If you need a place to stay to follow isolation expectations, contact Student Advocacy and Support at 402-472-3204. Students living in the residence halls should contact Residence Life at 402-472-1717 to arrange for isolation housing.
If you choose to isolate somewhere else, consider the following factors:
- Your household will need to quarantine for 14 days beyond the end of your isolation period. As close contacts during your stay, friends/family members in your household will need to follow quarantine protocols to ensure they did not contract the virus.
- You’ll need a separate space – a bedroom and a bathroom where only you can access without traveling through common spaces.
- Your caregivers shouldn’t be at high risk, meaning not over age 60 or with underlying health issues.
- You’ll need to eliminate physical contact with others (i.e. no visitors for anyone in the household).
- You’ll need to avoid shared items like dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding and other items.
In summary, it’s not easy to isolate elsewhere. You’re likely to spread the virus to household members. Your best option is likely to use the isolation resources available through the university so you can help protect others.