Who is a contact?
A contact is defined as a healthy person that has been in such association with an infected person or a contaminated environment as to have exposed and is therefore at a higher risk of developing disease.
A contact in the context of COVID-19 is:
- A person living in the same household as a COVID-19 case;
- A person having had direct physical contact with a COVID-19 case or his/her infectious secretions without recommended personal protective equipment (PPE) or with a possible breach of PPE
- A person who was in a closed environment or had face to face contact with a COVID-19 case at a distance of within1metre including air travel;
The epidemiological link may have occurred within a 14-day period before the onset of illness in the case under consideration.
Instructions for contacts being home quarantined
The home quarantined person should:
- Stay in a well-ventilated single-room preferably with an attached/separate toilet.
- If another family member needs to stay in the same room, it’s advisable to maintain a distance of at least 1 meter between the two.
- Needs to stay away from elderly people, pregnant women, children and persons with co-morbidities within the household.
- Restrict his/her movement within the house.
- Under no circumstances attend any social/religious gathering g. wedding, condolences, etc.
He should also follow the under mentioned public health measures at all times:
- Wash hand as often thoroughly with soap and water or with alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid sharing household items e.g. dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding, or other items with other people at home.
- Wear a surgical mask at all the time. The mask should be changed every 6-8 hours and disposed off. Disposable masks are never to be reused.
- Masks used by patients / care givers/ close contacts during home care should be disinfected using ordinary bleach solution (5%) or sodium hypochlorite solution (1%) and then disposed of either by burning or deep burial.
- Used mask should be considered as potentially infected.
- If symptoms appear (cough/fever/difficulty in breathing), he/she should immediately inform the nearest health centre or call 011-23978046.
Instructions for the family members of persons being home quarantined
- Only an assigned family member should be tasked with taking care of the such person
- Avoid shaking the soiled linen or direct contact with skin
- Use disposable gloves when cleaning the surfaces or handling soiled linen
- Wash hands after removing gloves
- Visitors should not be allowed
- In case the person being quarantined becomes symptomatic, all his close contacts will be home quarantined (for 14 days) and followed up for an additional 14days or till the report of such case turns out negative on lab testing
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces in the quarantined person’s room (e.g. bed frames, tables etc.) daily with 1% Sodium Hypochlorite Solution.
- Clean and disinfect toilet surfaces daily with regular household bleach solution/phenolic disinfectants
- Clean the clothes and other linen used by the person separately using common household detergent and dry.
Duration of home quarantine
The home quarantine period is for 14 days from contact with a confirmed case or earlier if a suspect case (of whom the index person is a contact) turns out negative on laboratory testing.
Source: Government of India Ministry of Health & Family Welfare Directorate General of Health Services (EMR Division) Guidelines for home quarantine.