During this pandemic, we’re learning to navigate many gray areas and questions. Do you have to quarantine when you’re waiting for test results? What if they take weeks? If you live with someone who tests positive, how do they isolate themselves from you in the same house? Do you need to quarantine too?
Jeanette Limones, a Bakersfield mother of two, got tested on July 3rd when she found out she was exposed to a COVID positive neighbor. After two weeks with no results, she marched back to her urgent care to demand answers.
“They said that there was a problem, a mishap, with the lab, LabCorp, and that they no longer work through them, and everybody from that day on July 3rd had to be retested,” Limones recalled.
She finally got her results this past Sunday, 16 days after first being tested.
“It was a stressful week just not knowing and waiting,” she said. “I wanted to know my results to see if my kids were at risk, and that was nerve-wracking.”
The CDC recommends you stay home and away from household members while you’re waiting for test results. But for Jeanette, with an 11 and 14-year-old, complete quarantine was not possible for 16 days.
“We have a small apartment. It wasn’t doable for the most part. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t get a bigger home, I couldn’t leave them. They’re young,” Limones said. “If I was positive, my next steps would have been to get them tested which would require me getting in the car with them and taking them to get tested.”
Fortunately, she tested negative. For those who do test positive, the CDC has a few recommendations for people who live in the same home.
Use a separate bathroom and bedroom, and keep them out of common spaces, like the kitchen or living room. Avoid sharing items like utensils, bedding, clothing, and electronics. Wear gloves while you disinfect often. Don’t have visitors over. You should both wear masks if you come close to each other. And you should stay home for two weeks even after they’ve finished their 2 weeks of quarantine.