What’s the impact on my family if I test positive?

If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, even if you don’t have symptoms, you will need to separate yourself from other people in your home, also called “isolation,” until you are no longer able to spread COVID-19 to others. The usual time you are required to be in isolation after a positive COVID19 test is

  • If you are sick, you should remain in isolation for:
    • At least 24 hours after you are free of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and other symptoms have improved, and
    • At least 10 days after the date you first had symptoms.
  • If you do not have symptoms, you should remain in isolation for:
    • At least 10 days after your test date.

(For some people who develop serious illness from COVID-19, a longer period of isolation may be required before it is safe to be around others or go back to work.)

The prospect of isolating from your family may seem a little daunting but there are some actions you can take to protect your family and some preparations you can make ahead of time to ease your absence.

Home isolation precautions

  • Identify a place a separate bedroom and bathroom you can isolate in. If you do not have a spare bedroom and bathroom, it’s important for you to stay quarantined in a designated spot for the duration of the illness. Everyone else in the family should avoid the area at all times.
  • Have food brought and left at your closed door on paper plates and disposal silverware. Have a trash can and garage bag outside of your door for easy disposal.
  • Use your phone to call or text your family to bring items you need to your door. Use your phone to video chat with children who may not understand why you are isolated.
  • If your family has to have contact with you, make sure that both of you are wearing a mask, covering their nose and mouth.

Unless the other members of your household fall under an agreement between their employer and the health department (i.e. healthcare workers) your family may be required to quarantine for 14 days at home, due to their exposure to you.

  • Think about what your family would need in terms of food and medication to quarantine for 14 days.
  • Brainstorm activities for your children to do while under quarantine, they will need plenty of items to keep them busy!
  • Find out your school’s policy to see if they can quickly transition your child into virtual learning, if not look up online resources to help a supplement their curriculum, to set the atmosphere, keep some school supplies at home. Ask your child’s teacher to email or send screenshots of what they are working on so others can emulate at home.
  • If you normally care for elderly parents or neighbors, develop a network now, so someone to cover for you.
  • You may have friends or clergy that want to help delivery items to you. Let them! Just make sure that they understand they have to leave items at your door and you cannot have contact.
  • Ask for emotional help if you need it. Washington University has mental health resources for you go to to learn more.