Courtesy Stanford Care: Managing Covid at Home

These are the latest instructions from Stanford about what to do while you wait for your test results, or if you test positive for Covid.

Not all patients with COVID-19 require hospital admission. If you are awaiting COVID-19 results or have a positive result but are deemed safe for discharge by the physician, please abide by the following recommendations:

  1. Stay home except to get medical care
  2. You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care. Do not go to work, school, or public areas. Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.  Wear a mask when you leave your home.
  3. Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home
  4. Call ahead before visiting your doctor
  5. Cover your coughs and sneezes
  6. Clean your hands often
  7. Avoid sharing personal household items
  8. Clean all “high-touch” surfaces everyday
  9. Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces daily in household common areas
    • • tables
    • • hard-backed chairs
    • • doorknobs
    • • light switches
    • • remotes
    • • handles
    • • desks
    • • toilets
    • • sinks
  10. In the bedroom/bathroom dedicated for an ill person: consider reducing cleaning frequency to as-needed (e.g., soiled items and surfaces) to avoid unnecessary contact with the ill person.
  11. As much as possible, an ill person should stay in a specific room and away from other people in their home, following home care guidance.
  12. The caregiver can provide personal cleaning supplies for an ill person's room and bathroom, unless the room is occupied by child or another person for whom such supplies would not be appropriate. These supplies include tissues, paper towels, cleaners and EPA-registered disinfectants
  13. If a separate bathroom is not available, the bathroom should be cleaned and disinfected after each use by an ill person. If this is not possible, the caregiver should wait as long as practical after use by an ill person to clean and disinfect the high-touch surfaces.


How to clean and disinfect:

Surfaces

  1. Wear disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. Gloves should be discarded after each cleaning. If reusable gloves are used, those gloves should be dedicated for cleaning and disinfection of surfaces for COVID-19 and should not be used for other purposes. Consult the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning and disinfection products used. Clean hands immediately after gloves are removed. 
  2. If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
  3. For disinfection, diluted household bleach solutions, alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol, and most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective.
  4. Diluted household bleach solutions can be used if appropriate for the surface. Follow manufacturer's instructions for application and proper ventilation. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.
  5. Prepare a bleach solution by mixing:
    • o 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water or 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water
  6. Products with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims are expected to be effective against COVID-19 based on data for harder to kill viruses. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, etc.).
  7. For soft (porous) surfaces such as carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes, remove visible contamination if present and clean with appropriate cleaners indicated for use on these surfaces. After cleaning:
    • o Launder items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely, or
    • o Use products with the EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims that are suitable for porous surfaces


Clothing, towels, linens and other items that go in the laundry
 

  1. Wear disposable gloves when handling dirty laundry from an ill person and then discard after each use. If using reusable gloves, those gloves should be dedicated for cleaning and disinfection of surfaces for COVID-19 and should not be used for other household purposes. Clean hands immediately after gloves are removed.
  2. If no gloves are used when handling dirty laundry, be sure to wash hands afterwards.
  3. If possible, do not shake dirty laundry. This will minimize the possibility of dispersing virus through the air.
  4. Launder items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely. Dirty laundry from an ill person can be washed with other people's items.
  5. Clean and disinfect clothes hampers according to guidance above for surfaces. If possible, consider placing a bag liner that is either disposable (can be thrown away) or can be laundered.


Monitor your symptoms

Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening (e.g., difficulty breathing). Before seeking care, call your healthcare provider and tell them that you have, or are being evaluated for, COVID-19. Put on a facemask before you leave your home and keep it on as you enter the facility. These steps will help the healthcare provider's office to keep other people in the office or waiting room from getting infected or exposed. If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the dispatch personnel that you have, or are being evaluated for COVID-19. If possible, put on a facemask before emergency medical services arrive.


Discontinuing home isolation

  1. Patients under investigation for COVID-19 awaiting test confirmation should remain under home isolation until notified of their COVID-19 results.
  2. If your COVID-19 result is negative, you may discontinue home isolation.
  3. If your COVID-19 result is positive, continue home isolation. Stanford Health Care will notify your local public health department you have tested positive for COVID-19. A person from your local public health department will contact you with further instructions including when you can discontinue home isolation.


Close contacts should also follow these recommendations:

  1. Make sure that you understand and can help the patient follow their healthcare provider's instructions for medication(s) and care. You should help the patient with basic needs in the home and provide support for getting groceries, prescriptions, and other personal needs.
  2. Monitor the patient's symptoms. If the patient is getting sicker, call his or her healthcare provider and tell them that the patient has laboratory-confirmed COVID-19.
  3. Household members should stay in another room or be separated from the patient as much as possible. Household members should use a separate bedroom and bathroom, if available.
  4. Prohibit visitors who do not have an essential need to be in the home.
  5. You and the patient should wear a facemask if you are in the same room.
  6. Wear a disposable facemask and gloves when you touch or have contact with the patient's blood, stool, or body fluids, such as saliva, sputum, nasal mucus, vomit, urine.
  7. Throw out disposable facemasks and gloves after using them. Do not reuse.
  8. When removing personal protective equipment, first remove and dispose of gloves. Then, immediately clean your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Next, remove and dispose of facemask, and immediately clean your hands again with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.