Jarrod Beachum, PA-C
On August 19, 2020, the Tennessee Department of Health released new isolation and quarantine guidelines that are designed to reduce the increasing rates of Covid-19 cases in the state. Tennessee is one of the top 10 states for this disease currently. The general idea behind the guidelines is that a positive person is contagious for 10 days and must be isolated to prevent the spread. Any contacts would need to be quarantined for 14 days to see if they develop symptoms. Again, the extra 14 days is meant to slow the spread of the virus in the state. The new guidelines create three groups of people: “cases” are those who test positive for Covid-19; “household contacts” are those who share a living space with a “case”; “non-household contacts” are those who came into contact with a “case” but don’t share a living space with them. Below is a summary of the new guidelines. The full guidelines can be read here: https://www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/health/documents/cedep/novel-coronavirus/Isolation-QuarantineRelease.pdf
If you test positive for Covid-19, then you are a “case”, and you must be isolated for a minimum of 10 days. How do you know when the 10 days begin? If you had a clear date of symptom onset, then that would be Day 0 for you. If you do not recall exactly when symptoms began, then Day 0 would be the day you got tested, not the day you got results back. You can be released from isolation after at least 10 days AND 24 hours without fever without the use of fever-reducing medication. If you complete your 10 days and then symptoms return again, you don’t have to be re-isolated according to the guidelines.
For those who are considered “household contacts” of a “case”, the guidelines require a 14-day quarantine AFTER the positive person has completed their 10-day isolation. It does not matter if the positive person had symptoms or not. If the household member develops symptoms at any point, they now become a “case” and must be tested and follow the isolation protocol above. There is a slight exception to this though. If you can show that the positive person will be able to be separated from the household for the 10 days, then “household contacts” may be considered “non-household contacts”, and can begin 14-day quarantine after the last date of contact with the “case”. For example, if your spouse tests positive for Covid-19, they must be on 10-day isolation, and then your 14-day quarantine will begin if you still share the same space during the 10 days. If they get a room with complete isolation from you, then you could start your 14 days earlier as long as you two don’t have any contact for the first 10 days.
The final group is the “non-household contacts”, who are people that have confirmed exposure to a “case”. They will need to be quarantined for 14 days from the date of the last contact, regardless of the “case” had symptoms or not. For example, you went to a friend’s house on Friday for dinner. He calls you and says he tested positive for Covid-19. You would then need to be quarantined for 14 days starting from that Friday.
If you have questions about the new policy, please feel free to come to see us at 45 Urgent Care. As a reminder, there is no current evidence to show that exposure to the virus or having antibodies confers immunity. Disregarding the quarantine protocols will likely lead to increased rates of viral spread. Not all viruses are the same. Some viruses do generally confer immunity after exposure, such as the chickenpox virus, but most do not. We do not advise purposely exposing yourself to the virus.