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Caring for yourself and others who have, or may have, COVID 19 at home

Oct. 28, 2021

As increasing numbers of people get COVID 19, spaces in isolation centres have become limited and now some people are being asked to self isolate at home. For the vast majority of people, especially those who have had their 2nd vaccination at least 2 weeks ago, COVID will be a minor illness similar to a cold or flu.

If your health care provider has determined that you do not need to be hospitalised and can be treated at home, you will be contacted by local public health staff. At this time, general practitioners are not providing care to patients with COVID who are isolated at home, specialist outreach units from MIQ, now called SIQ, are managing them.

You should follow the instructions below until you are told that you can return to your normal activities.

Separate yourself from other people in your home

As much as possible, you should stay in a room by yourself. It should be well-ventilated (eg, open windows), but you should keep the door closed. Keep your distance from other people in your home. This means eating meals in your room by yourself, limiting your movements in shared spaces and using a separate bathroom if possible. If you can, try to have one person who is in good health looking after you. You should not have any visitors. Anyone in your household has to isolate for 14 days and can not leave the house. If anyone else in your household becomes unwell then that 14 days of isolation resets and starts again.

Stay home

You should only leave your home or accommodation to get urgent medical care or a COVID test. Do not go to work, school, or public areas. Do not use public transportation, ride-sharing services, or taxi. You will need food to be delivered and all your needs met so that you can stay at home.

Medical Care

You should not visit Medplus. Your care should be provided by SIQ teams who will manage you whilst you isolate at home. They will do the majority of this by a daily telephone or video consultation. If you need a consult about something other than COVID please book a Medplus virtual consult, either by phone or video.

Do not go to a pharmacy - ask them to deliver medications or get a friend to drop them at your door for you.

Continue your normal medications unless told otherwise. Paracetamol may help you with fever and make you more comfortable. Cough syrups do not help. Antibiotics offer no assistance for those with COVID 19.

You may be issued a pulse oximeter device to measure your oxygen saturations and your heart rate. The SIQ team will determine if you need one and if so they will ask you for the readings daily.

Clean your hands

Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, making sure you dry them thoroughly. Do not share your towel with anyone else in the household. You can also use hand sanitizer (containing at least 60 percent alcohol) if soap and water are not available and if your hands are not visibly dirty. If using hand sanitizer, cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. The same hand hygiene should apply to all household members.

Cover your coughs and sneezes

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, your sleeve, or your elbow when you cough or sneeze. Throw used tissues in a rubbish bin and immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, making sure you dry them thoroughly, or use hand sanitizer.

Avoid sharing personal household items

You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, pillows, or other items with other people in your home. After using these items, you should wash them in the dishwasher or washing machine or use soap/detergent and water to wash them thoroughly.

Keep your home or accommodation clean and well-ventilated

Overall, the home or accommodation you're staying in should be clean and well-ventilated, especially the areas shared with other people. Use household gloves when cleaning. You or your carers should:

Seek prompt medical attention if your illness worsens

Seek prompt medical attention if you are feeling worse (eg, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing). This may happen on days 5 to 8 for those who are going to get more unwell. Follow the instructions you have received from the SIQ. The advice line for patients to get help in the community is 0800 687 647.

Before seeking urgent care, always call your health care provider or ambulance service and tell them that you have or are being investigated for COVID-19. Clean your hands with a hand sanitizer and put on a face mask before you enter the facility. These steps will help the health care provider or ambulance service keep other people from getting infected or exposed.