April 6, 2020 - County of San Mateo Issues Mass Isolation & Quarantine Orders for People with COVID-19 and their Close Contacts
Redwood City – San Mateo County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow has issued new orders requiring persons who have tested positive for COVID-19 to isolate themselves and for the close contacts of persons who have tested positive to remain in quarantine for 14 days.
According to the orders, “isolation” is the separation of persons who have been infected with COVID-19 from other persons. “Quarantine” separates and restricts the movement of persons who, while not yet infected with COVID-19, have been exposed to COVID-19 and therefore may become infectious. The quarantine order applies to the close contacts of persons who have tested positive and are in isolation.
“This mass order provides the tools—and the necessary information—for keeping those sick with COVID-19 separated from others and for preventing those exposed to the illness from spreading it,” said Dr. Morrow. “People with no or mild symptoms may have COVID-19 and not know it.”
ISOLATION ORDERS (see the full instructions here)
Persons who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 may not leave their home or another residence except to receive necessary medical care or during an emergency that requires evacuation. They should stay in a room away from other household members and use a separate bathroom if possible. If areas need to be shared, like a kitchen or a bathroom, doorknobs, fixtures, and toilets should be cleaned regularly.
Persons in isolation should utilize delivery services, such as Amazon or Instacart, or call 211 for assistance obtaining food or other necessities. They should seek medical attention right away if the illness worsens, which includes having trouble breathing. If calling 911, they should notify the operator that they have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
For those in isolation without symptoms, the isolation period lasts for seven days from the date of a positive test. For those with symptoms, the period is determined by two factors, whichever is later. They must isolate until at least 72 hours have passed since recovery—when they have no fever without taking fever-reducing medication and there is improvement of cough and shortness of breath. Or at least seven days have passed since their symptoms started.
QUARANTINE ORDERS (see the full instructions here)
Close contacts of those who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 need to stay home even though they maybe not feel sick. Quarantine is a way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to more people.
Persons under quarantine should follow the social distancing requirements described in the health officer’s Shelter in Place Order of March 31, 2020, which include maintaining at least six feet of physical separation from individuals who are not part of the same household or living unit, frequently washing hands, and other measures.
They should not go to work even if they work for an essential business, perform essential government functions, or operate or maintain essential infrastructure.
Persons under quarantine should utilize delivery services, such as Amazon or Instacart, as much as possible to avoid entering essential businesses like the grocery store, pharmacy, and hardware store—or call 211 for assistance obtaining food or other necessities.
For those who do not live with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, the quarantine will end after 14 days if the person under quarantine has not been diagnosed with COVID-19. Those who live with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 will need to quarantine for 14 days after the household member no longer needs to be isolated, so long as the person under quarantine has not been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Persons who do not have access to a home or residence for the purpose of isolation or quarantine should call 211 to be connected to the San Mateo County Emergency Operations Center’s Shelter & Care Branch to inform of their COVID-19 status and request an isolation location.
The isolation and quarantine orders are the latest initiatives from San Mateo County’s health officer that are intended to slow the spread of COVID-19. The Shelter in Place Order (March 16 and revised March 31), the social distancing measures required by individuals and businesses, and the request for people to wear face coverings in public are responses to the growing evidence of transmission risk from infected persons before the onset of symptoms.
As of April 5, San Mateo County had 579 cases of COVID-19 and 13 related deaths. See more information here: smchealth.org/coronavirus