Isolation at home

Reading time: 4 min

Home isolation is staying at home and not going out into public spaces. The fundamental objective of the isolation measures is to isolate the virus itself, preventing its spread and limiting infection.

Home care can be a good option for those cases with mild symptoms, who have no major underlying disease and a stable clinical situation, as long as their home environment is suitable for caring for the patient and certain minimum requirements are met.

Doctor with a report carrying out an interview or anamnesis

Health professionals decide if a person is a candidate for home isolation by evaluating the clinical criteria and the circumstances of their health and social environment.

Physician, patient, surgeon and recurring symbol

The duration of the isolation varies according to the assessment of each particular case and is determined by the healthcare professionals, as well as the monitoring that they carry out.

Phone call

Healthcare professionals will remain in contact with the affected person and monitor the case.

Well-adapted building or house

The person who is isolated may continue to live with the people in their home but everyone must follow the instructions of the healthcare professionals. It is important to avoid contact with vulnerable people and keep away from people over 65, anyone who is chronically ill, pregnant women, and children under five years of age.

Measuresa about isolation at home

Home isolation is indicated for people diagnosed with Covid-19 and who are in an overall good state of health, and also for those who have no risk factors, are in an overall good state of health, but who have symptoms compatible with the illness, and who have not been tested (in other words, it is a potential case). Following these isolation measures is recommended in these cases:

Woman with mask

Wear the mask when using common areas of the house.

Wash hands with water and a bar of soap

Maintaining hygiene measures (washing hands, preventing transmission of the illness by coughing or sneezing).

Two people maintain a safety distance of between 1 and 2 metres

Avoiding being close (at least 1.5-2 metres) to people living in the same household, and ensuring that contact, even when at a distance, is of a short duration (15 minutes maximum).

These measures are particularly important if there are people over 65 years of age living in the house, people with chronic diseases (these are two most vulnerable groups), as well as pregnant women and children under 5 years old.

The home must have these minimum conditions:

Masked person in a room with closed door

An individual bedroom with a door that must remain closed.

Person lying on a bed in a room with the window open

The room must have good ventilation to the outside (the window should not open to an enclosed space) and should be ventilated for a minimum of ten minutes, three times a day.

Disinfected sink or toilet

It is best if there is a toilet that can be exclusively used by the person in isolation. If it has to be shared, it must be disinfected with bleach after every use.

If it is not possible to guarantee these conditions, alternatives should be sought, such as isolating confirmed or potential cases in specific hotels.

The isolated person must be literally confined to their bedroom. They must not leave their bedroom except in absolutely essential cases. Before leaving, they must:

Woman with mask

Wash their hands thoroughly and use a mask.

Tissue box

Use disposable tissues for coughing and sneezing. The person must use the tissue only once, then throw it away in a bin in their bedroom. They should then wash their hands.

A person taking a shower

Shower every day.

Ventilate the room for 10 minutes

If someone must enter the room, ventilate it for 10 minutes beforehand. It is best to enter wearing a mask, and to maintain a safe distance of between 1.5 and 2 metres under all circumstances.

Person eating in isolation in a room

All meals must be eaten in the bedroom, and then glasses, crockery and cutlery must be washed in the dishwasher or with soap and hot water.

Washing machine and wash clothes at 60 degrees.

Bedsheets, towels and clothing used by the person in isolation should be placed in a separate bag until they can be washed. The clothes must not be shaken before washing. They can be washed with any detergent or soap, at 60°C or more. Then leave the washed clothes to dry fully.

Litter bin

Any rubbish generated by the person in isolation can be thrown away with other domestic waste, using a well-sealed bag. Wash your hands well after any contact with waste.

Household bleach

Although there isn't enough evidence that infection occurs from touching contaminated surfaces, it is important to do a good cleaning of frequently touched surfaces. Such as furniture in the room to which the person is confined. The sink and the bathroom should be cleaned with disposable materials and should be disinfected with a domestic disinfectant containing bleach, using a dilution of 1:100 (1 part bleach to 99 parts water). 

Substantiated information by:

Antoni Trilla
Eduard Vieta Pascual
Gema Maria Lledó Ibáñez
Jacobo Sellarés Torres
Josep M. Miró Meda
Josep Maria Peri
Maica Rubinat
Mariona Violan

Published: 12 March 2020
Updated: 12 March 2020

The donations that can be done through this webpage are exclusively for the benefit of Hospital Clínic of Barcelona through Fundació Clínic per a la Recerca Biomèdica and not for BBVA Foundation, entity that collaborates with the project of PortalClínic.


Receive the latest updates related to this content.

Thank you for subscribing!

If this is the first time you subscribe you will receive a confirmation email, check your inbox

An error occurred and we were unable to send your data, please try again later.