27 November 2020
Isolation at home
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.
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.
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.
Healthcare professionals will remain in contact with the affected person and monitor the case.
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:
Maintaining hygiene measures (washing hands, preventing transmission of the illness by coughing or sneezing).
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:
An individual bedroom with a door that must remain closed.
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.
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:
Wash their hands thoroughly and use a mask.
Not have any direct contact with pets.
Wash their hands very frequently.
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.
Shower every day, and wash their towel every day too.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Clean surfaces that are touched frequently (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 daily with a domestic disinfectant containing bleach, using a dilution of 1:100 (1 part bleach to 99 parts water), which should be prepared every day.
Contaminated surfaces are a vehicle for virus transmission. Therefore, cleaning with any type of household disinfectant is enough to eliminate the virus.
The virus can remain in the air for up to three hours, but its average life is around one hour.
In plastic and stainless steel, the virus has greater durability and has been detected up to three days later. The average life on both surfaces is from six to seven hours.
In copper, the virus can remain up to four hours, with an average life of one hour.
In cardboard viable viruses have not been detected after 24 hours. Its average life in this material is from two to four hours.