COVID-19 Isolation/Quarantine Self-Assessment
Updated with CDC isolation and quarantine guidelines from 01/09/2022.
If you would like a chart version of the isolation/quarantine scenarios, click here.
You are PRESUMED COVID-19 positive
- Because of your known exposure and symptoms of COVID-19, this scenario should be treated as a positive case.
- Isolate 5 days from the start of symptoms. Wear a mask around others an additional 5 days. If you are unable to mask around others, isolate a full 10 days from the start of symptoms. There are options for a shorter isolation time with professional medical guidance.
- You should take a COVID-19 test.
- Isolation ends when a minimum of 5 days (or sooner under medical guidance) have passed AND symptoms have improved AND you are free of fever for more than 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medicines. Continue to wear a mask around others for an additional 5 days. If you are unable to mask, isolation ends when a minimum of 10 days have passed with the same guidelines.
What does this mean?
Because of your exposure and the presence of symptoms, you most likely have COVID-19. Vaccination status does not change this. The safest thing to do is to isolate for 5 days and acquire a COVID test (PCR preferable) to confirm. You should wear a mask around others for an additional 5 days after your isolation. If you are unable to mask around others, a 10-day isolation is recommended. There may be an alternative diagnosis which explains your symptoms. Because of the many different scenarios for presumed COVID patients, a doctor visit can help decide the best course of action.
What should I do?
A very reasonable approach would be to isolate until a minimum of 5 days have passed from the date your first symptoms started AND symptoms have improved AND you are free of fever for more than 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medicines. You must wear a mask around others for an additional 5 days after your isolation. If you are unable to mask around others, you should isolate for 10 days. We recommend taking a COVID-19 test. If it is positive, click here. If you test negative during your symptoms, continue to isolate for the full 5 days or 10 days from the start of your symptoms as it may be a false negative.
You must be free of fever (without using fever-reducing medication) for at least 24 hours AND symptoms must be improving to end isolation. If you are unsure if you have COVID-19 or if you would like to see if your 5-day or 10-day isolation can end sooner, we recommend seeking professional medical guidance (more information in sections below).
“As much as possible, stay in a specific room and away from other people and pets in your home. If possible, you should use a separate bathroom. If you need to be around other people or animals in or outside of the home, wear a mask.” -CDC
What is my treatment plan?
Treatment plans will be similar to cold/flu virus infections.
- Fever – Fever is a natural part of fighting a virus and does not need to be reduced unless there is discomfort. Your motto should be “treat the child, not the fever.” You can take ibuprofen (≥6 months old) and/or Tylenol as needed for discomfort. Call if fever reaches ≥106.
- Cough/congestion – Use suction/saline, cold mist humidifier, sit in a steamy room, and keep head elevated whenever possible for cough and congestion. You can also give warm water with honey and/or lemon to treat coughs for children older than 1 year of age. We do not recommend the use of cough and congestion medicines.
- Vomit/diarrhea – Vomiting may be monitored for up to 48 hours as long as there is no blood or bile present. Make sure that you are staying hydrated and perform the rehydration cycle for excessive vomiting. Diarrhea can be monitored for up to 2 weeks as long as there is no blood. Make sure you are mindful of preventing diaper rash if there is excessive diarrhea.
- Seek medical attention if there is a fever ≥101 for ≥3 days (or any fever ≥100.4 in children less than 3 months old), respiratory distress, dehydration symptoms, or lethargy.
Do I need to schedule an appointment?
In most cases, you may be able to monitor and treat at home. Seek medical attention if there is a fever ≥101 for ≥3 days (or any fever ≥100.4 in children less than 3 months old), respiratory distress, dehydration symptoms, or lethargy.
You may also need an appointment:
- if your school is requiring a note (please see the “How do I get a Return to School note?” section below)
- if you would like to see if you qualify for a shorter isolation period (please see the “Can my isolation end sooner?” section below).
If an appointment at your Blue Fish location is needed, because you are presumed COVID-19 positive we have modified visit options for the safety of you, our other patients, and our staff.
- Telemedicine visits – These visits occur through a video chat. You can call our front desk to schedule this appointment.
- Car visits – If the doctor thinks that an in-person visit is warranted, we may have you park in front of our building and the doctor will come out to you. Call and speak to our medical assistant staff to see if the doctor will approve this type of visit.
- End-of-day visits – If the doctor thinks that an in-person visit in the office is warranted, we may have you wait in the hallway at the end of our business hours and call you in directly to the closest room available. Call and speak to our medical assistant staff to see if the doctor will approve this type of visit.
Should I test?
We recommend taking a COVID-19 test. If it is positive, click here for COVID-19 positive isolation guidelines. If you test negative during your symptoms, continue to isolate for 5 days from start date of symptoms and wear a mask for an additional 5 days. If you are unable to mask around others, continue to isolate the full 10 days. A negative rapid antigen COVID-19 test should be verified with a PCR test.
You can go to one of the testing facilities below or contact your Blue Fish location for a lab slip to get a PCR test at a Memorial Hermann Urgent Care.
A PCR test recommended for the best accuracy. For a PCR test, POSITIVE results are reliable and NEGATIVE results are generally reliable. The later the test is taken after an exposure, the more accurate the results.
A RAPID ANTIGEN test can be taken for quicker results, but should be verified with a PCR test. For a rapid antigen test, POSITIVE results are reliable but NEGATIVE results are NOT reliable. A repeat rapid antigen test 36 hours apart from the first increases accuracy.
Local testing sites:
List of Harris County / Houston COVID-19 Nasopharyngeal Swab Testing Sites
Closest Testing Facilities by Blue Fish Location
Which test is best for COVID-19, PCR vs. rapid antigen vs. antibody?
For additional counseling, please call the office to schedule a telemedicine visit with your doctor.
Can my isolation end sooner?
Isolation may end sooner with professional medical guidance. A negative COVID-19 test result does not necessarily mean you do not have COVID-19. If you need to speak with a doctor, contact your Blue Fish location for an appointment (see the “Scheduling an appointment” section above).
What about my family?
For those who are living with someone in isolation for suspected COVID-19, you are a primary high risk exposure (click here to use our COVID-19 Self-Assessment for specific family member exposure guidelines and recommendations).
When am I cleared?
After a minimum of 5 days have passed (10 days if you cannot mask) AND symptoms have improved AND you are free of fever for more than 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medicines. If you end isolation in 5 days, you must also wear a mask for an additional 5 days around others. These isolation times can end sooner under medical guidance.
How do I get a Return to School note?
Ask your school for their specific return requirements. If you require a school note, you will need to schedule an appointment to determine the proper return guidelines (please see “Scheduling an appointment” section above).
This COVID-19 Self-Assessment does not replace professional medical advice, but can guide you on quarantining and isolation guidelines. Parents should help answer for children. Each member of the family can take this Self-Assessment to determine their specific quarantine/isolation guidelines. You may retake this self-evaluation at anytime during your quarantine if circumstances change.
If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please dial 911 or go to a pediatric emergency room.
By clicking the link below, you are acknowledging that this tool is used for guidance only and does not replace professional medical advice.