What is the difference between Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Self-Quarantine, and Self-Isolation?
As a recent Whatcom Unified Command press release announced, an isolation and quarantine facility is being established for individuals who cannot safely remain in their homes or who may not have the resources to stay safe. These strategies are effective at reducing the spread of COVID-19 and are used in different scenarios to protect the public’s health and vulnerable individuals in our communities. Here’s a rundown of when each of these strategies are used, who they impact, and how they differ.
Stay Home, Stay Healthy
On March 23rd, Governor Inslee announced a Stay Home, Stay Healthy Executive Order as a mitigation strategy to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. This strategy requires all Washingtonians to stay home except while doing essential activities, such as grocery shopping or working in a job deemed essential by the Washington state. Currently, all gatherings of people are prohibited, and all businesses must close unless designated as essential by Washington State. On April 2nd, this order was extended until May 4th, 2020. To learn more about what this order means, see our website.
Self-Quarantine is a containment strategy used to slow the spread of COVID-19 from individuals who are close contacts of a lab-confirmed case. A close contact is currently defined by the Washington State Department of Health as being within 6 feet of a confirmed case for 10 minutes or more. Through our Health Department’s disease investigation process, we inform close contacts about their potential exposure and provide instructions about how to prevent infecting others in our community. We advise close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases to self-quarantine for 14 days. Self-Quarantine is for close contacts who feel healthy and are not exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. When used effectively, self-quarantine ensures that close-contacts do not spread the virus to others. After an exposure with a confirmed case, some people may never develop symptoms of COVID-19, while others may be contagious before they develop symptoms.
Self-quarantine means remaining at home and limiting your interactions with others for 14 days, or until symptoms develop. If you develop symptoms, self-isolate. Follow these recommendations for self-quarantining:
Self-isolation is a containment strategy to slow the spread of COVID-19. Any individuals who have COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate to protect those around them and prevent the spread of disease. Symptoms of COVID-19 include cough, shortness of breath, and fever.
If you become sick with symptoms of COVID-19, regardless if you have been tested, you should follow these recommendations for self-isolation:
While these strategies may be slightly different, they are effective tools to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Whatcom County.