Health Department addresses frequently asked COVID-19 questions

The Lincoln County Health Department’s role with the COVID-19 response is preventing the spread of the disease in the community. In that role, those that live in Lincoln County and test positive for COVID-19 are reported to Lincoln County Health Department as well as identify close contacts that were exposed. The local health department is made up of professionally trained staff in disease prevention and control. This team of professionals are here to answer your questions.
Below are common questions we receive on a daily basis:
1. What is the difference between Isolation and Quarantine?
Isolation keeps a person who tested positive for COVID-19 away from others, even in their own home. The person may be showing symptoms, but may also be symptom free.
If you test positive for COVID-19 or think you have the disease you should isolate in your home, away from others until:
• At least 10 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared and
• You have had no fever for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and
• Other symptoms have improved.
If you test positive for COVID-19, but do not have symptoms, you should still isolate in your home, away from others:
• Stay home until after 10 days have passed since your positive test.
Note: If you live with others, stay in a specific “sick room” or area and away from other people or animals, including pets. Use a separate bathroom, if available.
Quarantine keeps a person who was a close contact to someone who has COVID-19 away from others. It can take up to 14 days for a person who was exposed to develop symptoms. Quarantining while you are not sick allows you to limit the number of people you have contact with in the event you become ill.
If you had close contact with a person who has COVID-19:
• Stay home until 14 days after your last contact.
• Check your temperature twice a day and watch for symptoms of COVID-19.
• If possible, stay away from people who are at higher-risk for getting very sick from COVID-19.
Our mission: Providing services to residents promoting optimal health and safety through prevention, protection, and intervention.
2. I think I was exposed to someone who tested positive or is having symptoms of COVID-19, now what?
• Monitor yourself for symptoms like fever, cough, runny nose, headache, and shortness of breath.
• If you develop any symptoms, call your healthcare provider for further instruction.
• If you are considered a close contact of a person who tested positive for COVID-19, the local health department will contact you for further instructions.
3. How do I know if I am a close contact to COVID-19?
You are a close contact if any of the following situations happened while you spent time with the person with COVID-19, even if they didn’t have symptoms:
• Had direct physical contact with the person (for example, a hug, kiss, or handshake).
• Were within 6 feet of the person for a total of more than 15 minutes in a single day.
• Had contact with the person’s respiratory secretions (for example, coughed or sneezed on; contact with a dirty tissue; shared a drinking glass, food, towels, or other personal items).
• Live with the person or stayed overnight for at least one night in a household with the person.
4. If my friend has been exposed to COVID-19, am I exposed?
Just because your friend was exposed doesn’t mean you were. If you are healthy and your friend did not have any symptoms, you do not have to get tested, self-quarantine or take any special precautions.
5. I understand if I am a close contact to someone with COVID-19 I need to quarantine for 14 days. If I get tested, and it is negative, can I get out of quarantine?
It is important to know that one negative test after finding out you are a close contact doesn’t mean you are not going to get COVID-19. This is because it can take up to 14 days for you to become sick after being exposed to the virus. A negative test does not mean you do not have COVID-19, unless it is completed on the 14th day of your quarantine.
6. I am diagnosed with COVID-19. Should I tell all my friends and family to go get tested?
The person who is recently diagnosed should wait until they get a call from the health department so we can assist you in identifying who was exposed and who wasn’t. Local public health staff are trained professionals in close contact exposure and monitoring. Calling friends and close contacts may cause unnecessary panic and worry. The local health department will follow up with identified close contacts to ensure they are quarantined for 14 days and monitoring their symptoms closely.

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