Updated April 5, 12:18 PM CT
Shelter-in-place, Quarantine, Isolation
March 24, 2020
Shelter-in-place, Stay Home, Quarantine, Isolation explained
A shelter-in-place order is already taking place in Dallas, but Houston used the less-panic term "stay home - work safe" order.
Let's take a look at the terms you'll be hearing for the next few months.
Shelter-in-place, Stay Home, Isolation, quarantine.
These are being used by the government to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus that's sweeping the United States and the rest of the world.
Here are some brief explanations.
This is for people who may have been exposed to the virus. They are asked to stay at home, or as in the case with people who were repatriated from China to the United States, to stay in a provided facility.
They're required to be in quarantine for 14 days. After that, people who still don't test positive for the virus no longer have to be in a contained environment.
Some people may choose or be asked to self-quarantine, meaning they do it voluntarily just because they think they may have been exposed or they are being just cautious.
Governments -- federal, state and local -- can order quarantines, and in fact, those repatriated from China were under a federal quarantine order.
That's only done in extremely rare situations, though. The last time it was ordered on a large scale was during the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918-1919, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This is for people who have the virus or suspect they may be infected.
Those with the virus who need to be hospitalized will be kept in an isolation unit.
People who have been infected with the virus may be asked to self-isolate at home if they have no symptoms or are only mildly ill.
It's important to call your health provider, in any case, if you develop symptoms.
Those in isolation should keep away from other people as much as possible. The CDC recommends that you use a separate bathroom, if available, wear a face mask when around others, and don't share household items.
Until this week, the term "shelter-in-place" meant for most people an active shooter situation -- stay where you until the coast is clear.
Millions of people in California and New York have been ordered to shelter-in-place, and now Texans are being asked to oblige.
These people are being asked to stay at home as much as possible, meaning they shouldn't be out unless getting food, gas or other essentials, or for medical reasons.
Health professionals (shout-out to my daughter - a NICU nurse), police, firefighters, and other essential service providers are still expected to go to work. And of course, grocery store clerks and gas station attendants are working, too.
Going outside for a walk or exercise is allowed, and even encouraged, in the California counties where the order has been imposed. But people are asked to keep their distance from others.
It's all about social distancing, and by now, we probably all know that means keeping six feet apart from other people when out and about.
Residents can still go out for essential needs as long as they are practicing social distancing and "common sense." I know that's asking a lot from you millennials - but we're at war - and we're all in this together.
Stay home - work safe, stay home, and stay-at-home
"Stay home - work safe" or "stay home" or “stay-at-home” orders are issued by officials with less panic in the order. The stay home order allows residents to leave their homes for "essential" reasons, such as necessary medical assistance, including the needs of pets. The stay-at-home order also allows for restaurants to remain open for permitted takeout and delivery orders and also for people who provide other essential services — such as delivering mail, garbage collection, and maintaining electrical systems to continue operating.
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