Most likely spot to contract COVID-19 may be at home
If someone contracts coronavirus household isolation is a challenging, but essential, practice
EAGLE COUNTY — The most challenging place to fight the spread of COVID-19 isn’t the grocery store or the post office.
The toughest battles are waged within the confines of people’s homes.
“We know that family members, household members, are at the highest risk of becoming infected,” said Eagle County Disease Prevention and Control Manager Rebecca Larson. “We are seeing significant household exposure.”
Larson acknowledged that it is difficult for people who have contracted COVID-19 to isolate themselves from the public. It’s even more difficult to keep socially distant from people in your home.
“It’s probably the most challenging situation to isolate from other family members when you become sick,” Larson noted.
But there are ways to protect the household when one person falls ill, and Larson stressed the importance of following the established guidelines. The biggest directions for people infected with COVID-19 are to stay at home and, if possible, remain separated from other members of the household.
That’s not always practical, Larson noted, especially when the COVID-19 patient is a parent or caregiver.
If the patient is sharing common areas with other members of the household, he or she should be wearing a mask. What’s more, all the other members of the household should be masked as well.
Mask-wearing recommendations for the general public have been changing over the course of the past few days, but Larson noted the in-home recommendations have been consistent.
“Having sick people wearing a mask has been the stance since the beginning of the outbreak,” she said. “We have also recommended household members, where there is a sick person, should wear masks.”
Hand-washing and surface disinfection are important across the population, but they are paramount when there is COVID-19 within the home, she stressed.
Determining household exposure isn’t a testing priority at present, Larson noted.
“We are only testing people who have symptoms. That is the priority,” she said. “But a lot of the time, we are seeing family members where there is a household full of symptoms.
Which goes back to a message that has been communicated from the beginning of the outbreak. If you live with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, it’s best to assume you have also contracted the virus.
“And regardless of whether someone is tested or not, the isolation guidelines are the same,” Larson concluded.