Tips on isolating while COVID-19 positive when you live with other people

Published: Jan. 19, 2022 at 7:12 PM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - If you tested positive for COVID-19 or have been exposed, isolating can be hard. Espeically if there are people who live under the same roof.

The Omicron variant continues to cause the number of COVID-19 cases to rise and that means more people have to separate themselves from others.

Doctor Dan Shirley, UW-Health Interim Medical Director of Infection Prevention, says if you’re positive, isolating while living with others can be tricky.

“That’s easier said than done and certainly in certain circumstances when you have either children or other people you’re taking care of for instance,” Shirley said.

Shirley suggests whether it’s an apartment or a house, keeping good ventilation like opening windows, turning on fans, or setting your thermostat to auto can help filter air. He also suggests wearing a mask, negative or positive, to keep germs to yourself and away from others.

“It’s a good principle when everybody is sick to just kind of not share stuff,” Shirley said. “It could be that you’re sick with anything else too that you don’t want to overlap that kind of stuff and course, washing your hands is not like the major thing for COVID, but it’s still important.”

Shirley says another place to make sure you isolate is if you share spaces like a bedroom.

“The risky times that you might have the ability to kind of change or when you’re sleeping because obviously if you’re sleeping right next to somebody that has COVID, you can’t mask all night and it’s a close contact,” Shirley said.

Kevin Thomas, who lives just outside of Black River Falls says, he has had first-hand experience with trying to isolate at home. In November, Thomas tested positive. He and his wife had to stay apart for more than two weeks.

“What we did was we changed our living around and I stayed in the living room, but she could go from the bedroom to the kitchen and we used separate bathrooms,” Thomas said.

In other common areas, Shirley says your COVID game plan can look different than someone else’s.

“There’s kind of a thousand variations of how that can go in an individual household,” Shirley said. “So, I think just kind of falling back on, you know, to the best that I can do it, trying to stay away in my own space and bathroom if I have that possibility.”

Shirley strongly suggests if you have to be in close contact at home, to mask up.

“The basic rules that apply in all of these scenarios is to generally try to stay away from people, stay in your own space, if you’re around people wear a mask,” Shirley said.

The CDC offers tips and suggestions on how to isolate yourself and other ways to help prevent spreading the virus while at home. To learn more, click here.

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