– According to Merriam-Webster, a quarantine is defined as a period of 40 days in a state of enforced isolation. (Source)
– “Self quarantine” as commonly used by various authorities under the current COVID-19 pandemic is a period of “about” 14 days in voluntary isolation.
See the difference?
(CNN) With US coronavirus cases topping 220 across 19 states and the death toll climbing to more than a dozen, state governments have asked thousands of residents to seclude themselves from the rest of the community to help contain the virus.
In New York alone, more than 2,500 people were instructed to self-quarantine as health officials scour for anyone who may have been exposed to the state’s first coronavirus cases. At least 22 have tested positive and are in isolation.
In California, health officials said Thursday more than 9,700 returning travelers were told to stay at home and monitor their health. Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency earlier this week after California saw its first virus-related death.
As numbers climb, states are grappling to keep an eye on the thousands of residents shuttered in their homes who may have come in contact with someone infected in efforts to stop the spread of the illness.
Here’s what you need to know:
What is the difference between self-isolation and self-quarantine?
Those who have been asked to quarantine themselves in their homes haven’t necessarily been infected with the virus.
While the practices of both self-quarantine and self-isolation are used to help curb the spread of the virus, they target a different group of people.
People who are in isolation are those who have contracted a contagious disease — in this case, people who tested positive for the coronavirus.
That includes the North Carolina resident who was isolated after testing presumptive positive this week and the Tennessee resident who tested positive after out-of-state travel and is also currently in home isolation.
Meanwhile, residents who are in self-quarantine are the people who may have come in contact with someone who was infected. Officials ask these individuals to stay at home for two weeks until it can be determined that they are not ill.
For about 14 days, individuals under self-quarantine can’t go to “work, school or any other public places where they could have contact with others,” according to Seattle & King County’s department of public health in Washington state.
Do residents have to follow those orders?
While residents across the states have so far been compliant about going into self-quarantine voluntarily, health officials can issue orders making both quarantines and isolations mandatory ….