ALERT: We have been made aware that local residents are receiving phone calls from 1-800 numbers (specifically the following: 1-800-319-7802 and 1-800-319-8400). The caller states you have been exposed to a positive case at an unidentified local business. These calls are SPAM. We, at Knox Public Health, do not notify close contacts of a positive COVID-19 case by auto-generated calls/voicemails.
What is Quarantine?
This is for well people (not experiencing symptoms) who have known contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19. The time period in which someone is quarantined is based on their last date of contact with the confirmed individual - and is therefore known as a Close Contact. It is strongly recommended to complete the full 5 days for quarantine + 5 additional days of masking to ensure that you are not infected with COVID-19. However, you can come out of quarantine sooner as presented by the following criteria:
Only masking required, if...
- Completed the primary series of vaccinations + Booster vaccination dose = Wear a mask around others for 10 days + Test on day 5 if possible
- Completed the primary series of Moderna or Pfizer vaccination within the past 6 months = Wear a mask around others for 10 days + Test on day 5 if possible
- Completed the primary series of J&J vaccine within the past 2 months = Wear a mask around others for 10 days + Test on day 5 if possible
Quarantine at home and masking required, if...
- Completed the primary series of Moderna or Pfizer OVER 6 months ago + NOT boosted = Stay home for 5 days + Wear a mask for 5 additional days + test on day 5 if possible --> if you cannot quarantine, you must wear a mask for 10 days
- Completed the primary series of J&J vaccine OVER 2 months ago + NOT boosted = Stay home for 5 days + Wear a mask for 5 additional days + test on day 5 if possible --> if you cannot quarantine, you must wear a mask for 10 days
- Not vaccinated = Stay home for 5 days + Wear a mask for 5 additional days + test on day 5 if possible --> if you cannot quarantine, you must wear a mask for 10 days
If you develop symptoms at any time, get tested and stay home (self-isolate until results are received). If results are positive, visit the Isolation webpage for more information about next steps.
Who is a close contact?
A close contact is when you are within a 6-foot distance of somebody for 15 total minutes or longer. When that happens, we strongly recommend those who were in close contact with the positive case to self-quarantine for 5 days + 5 days of masking from their last day of contact. COVID-19 is easily spread when an infected person coughs, sneezes, speaks or breathes. It can even spread on surfaces that are frequently touched.
Close contacts are individuals identified by the positive case to the health department. KPH is only aware of the individuals that a positive case provides information for.
How long is quarantine?
Quarantine is strongly recommended for 5 days by the CDC and the Ohio Department of Health. However, if you are vaccinated against COVID-19, the duration may have different parameters than those who are not vaccinated.
What does it mean to be in quarantine?
These are things you can do to reduce the risk that you will transmit the virus to others in your household:
- Keep 6 feet from other people at all times. If you can’t, wear a mask.
- Do not have visitors in your home.
- If possible, you will need to sleep alone in a room that has a window with good airflow.
- If possible, use a separate bathroom. If not, you will need to wipe down/sanitize the surfaces you have touched after each use.
- Your bathrooms should be cleaned every day using household disinfectant.
- Wipe down surfaces that are touched frequently with disposable cloths, using bleach if possible, or household cleaners.
- You should use your own plate, bowl, and utensils – do not share these or food with anyone.
- Wash your laundry separately with detergent; bleach can be used but is not needed.
- Don’t forget the basics: Avoid touching your face as much as possible. Cover your mouth with tissue when coughing or sneezing and throw the tissue away immediately. Wash your hands immediately after.
- Wash your hands frequently throughout the day with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Anyone you come in contact with (including anyone in your home) should be aware of their health and watch themselves for fever, cough, and other symptoms.
Luckily, most cases are mild or moderate and most people don’t need to be in the hospital. Some cases can get more serious and cause pneumonia and breathing difficulties.
Can I go to school during my quarantine?
A K-12 student may attend in-classroom instruction if both of the following are true:
- The student remains symptom free (asymptomatic);
- The student wears a mask while in-doors, or unable to socially distance if outdoors, for the entire duration of their quarantine;
- Students who are unable to wear a mask for any reason during their quarantine period may not attend school and must stay home for the duration of their quarantine
Additionally, asymptomatic K-12 contacts may continue to participate in extracurricular activities if they do the following:
- Wear a mask when able. (This includes: transportation; locker rooms; sitting/standing on the sidelines; and anytime the mask will not interfere with breathing, the activity, or create a safety hazard.)
- Test on initial notification of exposure to COVID-19.
- Test again on days 5-7. If they produce a negative result and remain symptom free, they will be released from quarantine on day eight.
Can I continue to work while in quarantine?
If you are an essential worker, you can still go to work as long as you meet ALL of the criteria:
A. Are symptom free.
B. Inform your employer of the situation.
C. You wear a mask the entire time.
D. You only go to and from work/home.
If you begin to show ANY SYMPTOMS, you should no longer go to work.
Do I have to Quarantine if I am fully vaccinated?
No, as long as you remain asymptomatic. You are, however, required to mask for 10 days.
The CDC recommendations have been updated for fully vaccinated people given new evidence on the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant currently circulating in the United States and locally in Knox County:
- Fully vaccinated people should wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission.
- Fully vaccinated people might choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission, particularly if they are immunocompromised or at increased risk for severe disease from COVID-19, or if they have someone in their household who is immunocompromised, at increased risk of severe disease or not fully vaccinated.
- Fully vaccinated people who have come into close contact with someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 to be tested 5 days after exposure, and to wear a mask in public indoor settings for 10 days or until they receive a negative test result.
- Website link to CDC recommendations: HERE
What symptoms should I be watching for?
- Shortness of breath / chest pain
- Muscle aches
- Sore throat
- Runny nose / congestion
- Nausea / vomiting / diarrhea / abdominal pain
- Loss of smell or taste
- Pink eye
*If you do experience severe symptoms during your quarantine, please seek medical care.*
If you develop symptoms at any time, get tested and stay home (self-isolate until results are received). If results are positive, visit the Isolation webpage for more information.
What happens if I start experiencing symptoms?
We ask that you self-isolate for 5 days from that day. If after day 5, you haven’t had a fever for 24 hours and you feel better, you can discontinue isolation.
If your 5 days of self-isolation lasts longer than your original quarantine period, then your quarantine is considered extended until your symptoms have improved and you have not had a fever for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications. It is recommended, however, that you test for COVID-19 on Day 5 to determine if you are ill with COVID-19.
If during the course of your quarantine you experience chest pain or shortness of breath, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room right away.
What if I have chronic health conditions? (ie diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or COPD)
If you have chronic health conditions, you may be at an increased risk of experiencing more serious symptoms of COVID-19. During your course of quarantine, if you are experiencing chest pain or shortness of breath, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.
What happens if I start to experience symptoms, get a COVID-19 test, and the results come back positive?
If you are tested and your test shows you are positive with the Coronavirus, you should follow the isolation guidance.