To Quarantine or Not to Quarantine

 

For those of you who read one of my most recent posts and assumed I’ve reached some peace of mind, you are only partially right. Answers to my questions have raised new questions. More than anything, I worry about my husband’s health; he has a lung condition and is 74.

If you haven’t read the post, I will summarize here:

I was minimally exposed* to a person on Tuesday who learned today that she has COVID. On Monday morning I am supposed to call to schedule a biopsy. At this point, I have no symptoms of COVID, but I don’t know if even that minimal exposure puts others, especially my husband, at risk. The most immediate questions are the following:

  1. Should I quarantine myself to one room of the house to protect my husband? My husband says it’s too late to protect him, since I’ve been around him for four days. Or should I sit tight and see if I develop symptoms? Should I at least stay home, and if so, for how long?
  2. I will tell the procedure scheduler my situation on Monday, and I assume she will proceed according to the health facility’s requirements. By Monday, it will have been a week since I was exposed. She might be willing to book me after a certain number of days have passed.
  3. Should I be tested again, and when? (I was tested the day after I was exposed and was negative, but 24 hours is not enough time).

I won’t be able to contact the surgeon or my internist before Monday (since it’s not an emergency). The research I’ve done has answers all over the place.

So the big question right now: quarantine or not?

*Minimally exposed means we met outside, she wore a decent mask, and we were together for less than five minutes. She already felt she “had something” then.

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  1. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    I think you are probably ok, but what do I know? The procedure scheduler might have  more conservative criteria. I sat catercorner for an hour and a half, both of us unmasked, at a conference table with a person who tested positive for Covid the next day. I never had symptoms and tested negative 4 days later. Be careful, but try not to stress over it. I also think if you are still asymptomatic by Monday, you never had it.

    • #1
  2. The Other Diane Coolidge
    The Other Diane
    @TheOtherDiane

    You’ll have to go with your gut on this but I’ll share what happened in October when my son drove down from NC to what was supposed to be a close-friends-only wedding outdoors which ended up being a 70-people-inside-for-the-reception-with nobody wearing masks or practicing any social distancing at all.  He came home very angry at himself for going to the wedding at all, but his close friend had specifically asked him to attend so he went, and I wouldn’t let him feel guilty for trying to be there for what he thought was going to be a tiny outdoor wedding.  

    At the time I was alone in Florida except for my son  because my mom was in her fourth hospital stay since August (non-Covid) and had begun to refuse food and head downhill very quickly without any family nearby.  So I was driving 90 miles each way most days to Tampa to be with my mom for several hours a day, and then on Sunday night when he returned my son, from a respectable distance across the room in our home, told me he was worried he could have been exposed.  

    We stayed apart for the next few days (I figured I was mostly traveling to Tampa anyway) but didn’t really quarantine until 3 days later when he lost his sense of smell, and then the  local doctor with the rapid test made him wait another 5 days before testing so he wouldn’t have a false negative.  (He was positive.)

    If I hadn’t been in denial of the risk of exposure we could have done a better job of quarantining 8 days before the positive test confirmed he had gotten the virus, and I wouldn’t have had to lean on my brother’s family for as long to sit bedside with my mom while I waited the CDC recommended days to see her again. .  

    Quarantining is frustrating and stressful (I didn’t even have my son use the fridge or microwave)but it’s a lot worse if you get a positive test result and have to start from scratch quarantine-date-wise.  If it was me I’d stay in a separate room for a few days and Lee your distance until you hear back from your definitely not-to-be emulated supervisor (sheesh!), then get another negative rapid test and move forward knowing you haven’t been exposed.  Just my two cents worth!.

     

    • #2
  3. The Other Diane Coolidge
    The Other Diane
    @TheOtherDiane

    Ack.  Margin issues.  I’m outside chasing dogs so don’t have time to figure out how to correct it right now either.  Sorry about that!

    • #3
  4. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    quarantine, your risk is high and your cost is low.  You are probably safe but for just a few day  discomfort why risk it?

    • #4
  5. PHCheese Member
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    I spent last Saturday with a family (outside) that the husband testified positive a week before with no symptoms. He only was tested because he was also scheduled for a test.  My advice is to relax and learn to live with the bomb. No quarantine.

    • #5
  6. Ontheleftcoast Member
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    The worst case scenario: You got a big enough dose of virus that while you’re presently asymptomatic, you won’t stay that way. That would mean an increasing viral load, you’ll likely be shedding small but increasing amounts of virus, and if your infection progresses to the point at which you’re symptomatic, you’ll be shedding larger numbers of virions. 

    So your husband’s take isn’t quite right, because in that worst case, your contagiousness will increase.

    The belt and suspenders approach would probably be something like: Keep the windows open as much as you can. You both wear N95 masks which you change a few times each day. You wear valveless, his has a valve. You learn how to do a fit test, and if there are fit problems for one or both of you, use paper tape to improve the seal. When you wear glasses, taping the mask to your nose really helps to keep the glasses from fogging up.

    If you do all that stuff, I think as long as you’re asymptomatic, you’re not really dangerous to your husband even if you were infected and you could probably safely hang out together.

    You might want to eat and sleep in separate rooms until you’ve tested negative and be a bit OCD about cleaning surfaces.

    Oh, and he washes his hands well before he eats, you wash well before cooking and serving food (but you probably do that anyway.)

    Disclaimer: this advice is worth every penny you paid for it.

    The public health people would probably want you to stay at home until after a negative test. Or two.

    • #6
  7. Gary Robbins Reagan
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    I have a unique suggestion.  Both courses of action have their strengths and weaknesses, and are just about even.  I suggest that you ask God to guide you in prayer.  Then take out a coin and flip it, knowing that God has control over everything, and you have asked for his intervention.  If the coin comes up “heads” then quarantine.  If it comes up “tails” then don’t quarantine.  And rest in the knowledge that God has directed you and that you are following his will.  

    • #7
  8. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    @susanquinn

    The CDC defines a significant exposure as 15 or more minutes at less then 6 feet, sharing food or physical contact ( like a hug)

    If you do not meed those criteria, you didn’t have a significant exposure  and you technically don’t need to quarantine.

    If you want more reassurance get another  rapid Covid test, especially if you have someplace that can do a rapid PCR for you.

    2 negatives 24 hours or more  apart will essentially rule out Covid.

     

    • #8
  9. Gary Robbins Reagan
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    Kozak (View Comment):

    @susanquinn

    The CDC defines a significant exposure as 15 or more minutes at less then 6 feet, sharing food or physical contact ( like a hug)

    If you do not meed those criteria, you technically don’t need to quarantine.

    If you want more reassurance get another rapid Covid test, especially if you have someplace that can do a rapid PCR for you.

    2 negatives 24 hours or more apart will essentially rule out Covid.

    Thank you for your timely advice.  Ricochet is richer due to your service.

    • #9
  10. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Kozak (View Comment):

    @susanquinn

    The CDC defines a significant exposure as 15 or more minutes at less then 6 feet, sharing food or physical contact ( like a hug)

    If you do not meed those criteria, you didn’t have a significant exposure and you technically don’t need to quarantine.

    If you want more reassurance get another rapid Covid test, especially if you have someplace that can do a rapid PCR for you.

    2 negatives 24 hours or more apart will essentially rule out Covid.

    Thanks, Kozak. I was hoping you’d weigh in. It’s helpful to have some medical criteria on which to make a decision.

    • #10
  11. Jon1979 Lincoln
    Jon1979
    @Jon1979

    I came at this from the other direction this week in that I came down with COVID, which first became noticeable Tuesday evening and was confirmed late Wednesday afternoon, while I had root canal surgery at my dentist on Monday.

    So I’m quarantined through New Year’s, but how many people also need to go into lockdown? I called the dentist’s office on Thursday, but being Christmas Eve they were closed, so I left a message on the answering machine, while my office knows, and my friend who I watched the Cowboys game with on Sunday who works for Verizon also knows and is going into 10-day protocol because that’s company policy.

    The other option is to put the news up on Facebook, since obviously I’m not going out to tell everyone, especially since I’m only on Day 3 of the five-day z-pack treatment and quarantine runs through Jan. 2 (and as of now, all this has been is flu with low fever — it’s not even in the Top 3 yet on my list of worse illnesses/ailments at Christmas time, and I hope it stays that way).

    • #11
  12. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    I have a unique suggestion. Both courses of action have their strengths and weaknesses, and are just about even. I suggest that you ask God to guide you in prayer. Then take out a coin and flip it, knowing that God has control over everything, and you have asked for his intervention. If the coin comes up “heads” then quarantine. If it comes up “tails” then don’t quarantine. And rest in the knowledge that God has directed you and that you are following his will.

    I sometimes follow a slight variation on this routine. It can be done with or without a coin. But after you flip the coin and then wish it had turned out otherwise, then go with the otherwise choice.  If you are comfortable with the result of the coin flip, stay with that. The point is that you won’t decide on the right thing to do while you are wavering between two choices. You won’t decide until a decision is made one way or another, either by you or by someone else.  Then go with your reaction to that decision. 

    • #12
  13. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    I sometimes follow a slight variation on this routine. It can be done with or without a coin. But after you flip the coin and then wish it had turned out otherwise, then go with the otherwise choice. If you are comfortable with the result of the coin flip, stay with that. The point is that you won’t decide on the right thing to do while you are wavering between two choices. You won’t decide until a decision is made one way or another, either by you or by someone else. Then go with your reaction to that decision. 

    I should add that it helps me to sleep on it before deciding whether or not I like the “decision.”  If there is not time for a full night’s sleep, a quick nap will often do the trick.

    • #13
  14. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    When one asks if one should take a risk without articulating an overwhelming benefit from taking the risk, what can one prudently say but don’t take the risk. So you quarantine from your husband for a few days. It’s not the worst thing in the world. You probably don’t have it but why take the risk?  

    • #14
  15. Gary Robbins Reagan
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    I sometimes follow a slight variation on this routine. It can be done with or without a coin. But after you flip the coin and then wish it had turned out otherwise, then go with the otherwise choice. If you are comfortable with the result of the coin flip, stay with that. The point is that you won’t decide on the right thing to do while you are wavering between two choices. You won’t decide until a decision is made one way or another, either by you or by someone else. Then go with your reaction to that decision.

    I should add that it helps me to sleep on it before deciding whether or not I like the “decision.” If there is not time for a full night’s sleep, a quick nap will often do the trick.

    If time permits, I will ask God to direct me in a dream.  That night, I will have a dream, and as I am semi-awake, I will interpret the dream and know what the right course is to take.  Being led by dreams is biblically sound and was followed by Jacob I believe.  

    • #15
  16. Shauna Hunt Coolidge
    Shauna Hunt
    @ShaunaHunt

    I usually make a decision and then ask. No matter how you approach God in prayer, He will answer. Sometimes, if there’s confusion, I consider that an answer. Most of the time, and in cases like yours, I think you would be at peace with whatever decision you make. Praying for you, Susan.

    • #16
  17. Acook Member
    Acook
    @Acook

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    I have a unique suggestion. Both courses of action have their strengths and weaknesses, and are just about even. I suggest that you ask God to guide you in prayer. Then take out a coin and flip it, knowing that God has control over everything, and you have asked for his intervention. If the coin comes up “heads” then quarantine. If it comes up “tails” then don’t quarantine. And rest in the knowledge that God has directed you and that you are following his will.

    I sometimes follow a slight variation on this routine. It can be done with or without a coin. But after you flip the coin and then wish it had turned out otherwise, then go with the otherwise choice. If you are comfortable with the result of the coin flip, stay with that. The point is that you won’t decide on the right thing to do while you are wavering between two choices. You won’t decide until a decision is made one way or another, either by you or by someone else. Then go with your reaction to that decision.

    You guys are expressing the sentiments of poet Piet Hein in this poem:

    Whenever you’re called on to make up your mind,

    and you’re hampered by not having any,

    the best way to solve the dilemma, you’ll find,

    is simply by spinning a penny.

    No – not so that chance shall decide the affair

    while you’re passively standing there moping;

    but the moment the penny is up in the air,

    you suddenly know what you’re hoping

     

    He had a whole series of short poems he called “Grooks.”  This was one of them. 

    • #17
  18. Jules PA Member
    Jules PA
    @JulesPA

    Susan Quinn: we met outside, she wore a decent mask, and we were together for less than five minutes. She already felt she “had something” then.

    No need to quarantine from your husband in your home but maybe lay off any kissing. 💞

    If your really worried, sleep in a separate room. 

    Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face, and keep windows open in your home, if you can, for fresh air.

    You were minimally exposed. 

    As a courtesy to others, you might stay home for 10 days from the date of that exposure. 

    I’m no doctor or specialist, but that is what I would do. 

    As a teacher, we are not considered exposed, if one of our masked students tests positive. Your exposure sounds way less than that. 

    But, it is nerve wracking. Peace to you. 

    • #18
  19. Jules PA Member
    Jules PA
    @JulesPA

    I also agree, that prayer before sleep to guide you, as well as a request for peace with the answer that is revealed to you. 

    Worst case is, you have, how will you feel if you have taken zero precautions? Take the precautions that work the best for your husband: including his opinion on the matter. 

    • #19
  20. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Acook (View Comment):

    You guys are expressing the sentiments of poet Piet Hein in this poem:

    Whenever you’re called on to make up your mind,

    and you’re hampered by not having any,

    the best way to solve the dilemma, you’ll find,

    is simply by spinning a penny.

    No – not so that chance shall decide the affair

    while you’re passively standing there moping;

    but the moment the penny is up in the air,

    you suddenly know what you’re hoping

     

    He had a whole series of short poems he called “Grooks.” This was one of them. 

    Yup.

    • #20
  21. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Susan Quinn:

    For those of you who read one of my most recent posts and assumed I’ve reached some peace of mind, you are only partially right. Answers to my questions have raised new questions. More than anything, I worry about my husband’s health; he has a lung condition and is 74.

    If you haven’t read the post, I will summarize here:

    I was minimally exposed* to a person on Tuesday who learned today that she has COVID. On Monday morning I am supposed to call to schedule a biopsy. At this point, I have no symptoms of COVID, but I don’t know if even that minimal exposure puts others, especially my husband, at risk. The most immediate questions are the following:

    1. Should I quarantine myself to one room of the house to protect my husband? My husband says it’s too late to protect him, since I’ve been around him for four days. Or should I sit tight and see if I develop symptoms? Should I at least stay home, and if so, for how long?
    2. I will tell the procedure scheduler my situation on Monday, and I assume she will proceed according to the health facility’s requirements. By Monday, it will have been a week since I was exposed. She might be willing to book me after a certain number of days have passed.
    3. Should I be tested again, and when? (I was tested the day after I was exposed and was negative, but 24 hours is not enough time).

    I won’t be able to contact the surgeon or my internist before Monday (since it’s not an emergency). The research I’ve done has answers all over the place.

    So the big question right now: quarantine or not?

    *Minimally exposed means we met outside, she wore a decent mask, and we were together for less than five minutes. She already felt she “had something” then.

    Mask up around hubby and at the Doctor’s office.  But for goodness sake, don’t put off testing for something that could adversely affect your health.

    Susan Quinn: Minimally exposed means we met outside, she wore a decent mask, and we were together for less than five minutes. She already felt she “had something” then.

    Tell the doc this and let him make the call.  Still, I’d insist on getting the test . . .

    • #21
  22. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    I have a unique suggestion. Both courses of action have their strengths and weaknesses, and are just about even. I suggest that you ask God to guide you in prayer. Then take out a coin and flip it, knowing that God has control over everything, and you have asked for his intervention. If the coin comes up “heads” then quarantine. If it comes up “tails” then don’t quarantine. And rest in the knowledge that God has directed you and that you are following his will.

    I sometimes follow a slight variation on this routine. It can be done with or without a coin. But after you flip the coin and then wish it had turned out otherwise, then go with the otherwise choice. If you are comfortable with the result of the coin flip, stay with that. The point is that you won’t decide on the right thing to do while you are wavering between two choices. You won’t decide until a decision is made one way or another, either by you or by someone else. Then go with your reaction to that decision.

    I broke up with a boyfriend in college over one such coin flip regret.

    • #22
  23. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    Stina (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    I have a unique suggestion. Both courses of action have their strengths and weaknesses, and are just about even. I suggest that you ask God to guide you in prayer. Then take out a coin and flip it, knowing that God has control over everything, and you have asked for his intervention. If the coin comes up “heads” then quarantine. If it comes up “tails” then don’t quarantine. And rest in the knowledge that God has directed you and that you are following his will.

    I sometimes follow a slight variation on this routine. It can be done with or without a coin. But after you flip the coin and then wish it had turned out otherwise, then go with the otherwise choice. If you are comfortable with the result of the coin flip, stay with that. The point is that you won’t decide on the right thing to do while you are wavering between two choices. You won’t decide until a decision is made one way or another, either by you or by someone else. Then go with your reaction to that decision.

    I broke up with a boyfriend in college over one such coin flip regret.

    You broke up on the results of a coin flip?  Have any of you three seen the movie or read the bookNo Country for Old Men?  Here’s a key seen.

     

    @garyrobbins

    @thereticulator

     

    • #23
  24. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Manny (View Comment):
    You broke up on the results of a coin flip? Have any of you three seen the movie or read the bookNo Country for Old Men? Here’s a key seen.

    No. Someone flipped a coin and told me to call it for staying with him. I called heads and it was heads. I was asked how I felt about it. Relief. Why? Because I didn’t have to make the decision anymore.

    I realized that wasn’t a good reason to stay with him.

    it was my first boyfriend and I had been given bad advice on dating and first relationships that set me up for a really hard time. He was not someone I ever intended to stay with forever and the relationship was to late in life for it to not progress to permanence.

    He was nice, but we had very different values. He’s a democrat feminist atheist with no kids. I’m a conservative Christian anti-feminist who wanted kids. A permanent relationship would have been disastrous.

     

    • #24
  25. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    Stina (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):
    You broke up on the results of a coin flip? Have any of you three seen the movie or read the bookNo Country for Old Men? Here’s a key seen.

    No. Someone flipped a coin and told me to call it for staying with him. I called heads and it was heads. I was asked how I felt about it. Relief. Why? Because I didn’t have to make the decision anymore.

    I realized that wasn’t a good reason to stay with him.

    it was my first boyfriend and I had been given bad advice on dating and first relationships that set me up for a really hard time. He was not someone I ever intended to stay with forever and the relationship was to late in life for it to not progress to permanence.

    He was nice, but we had very different values. He’s a democrat feminist atheist with no kids. I’m a conservative Christian anti-feminist who wanted kids. A permanent relationship would have been disastrous.

     

    Ok. Have you seen that movie though?

    • #25
  26. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Manny (View Comment):
    Ok. Have you seen that movie though?

    Nope.

    • #26
  27. Gary Robbins Reagan
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    Stina (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):
    Ok. Have you seen that movie though?

    Nope.

    I do not recommend the movie “No Country for Old Men.”  It is nihilist bilge.  You would be better off surfing the web or re-watching a movie that you enjoy.  “No Country for Old Men” has no redeeming qualities and many negatives.  I wish I had never seen it.  Ever.  I hope that its director never directs another movie.      

    • #27
  28. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):
    Ok. Have you seen that movie though?

    Nope.

    I do not recommend the movie “No Country for Old Men.” It is nihilist bilge. You would be better off surfing the web or re-watching a movie that you enjoy. “No Country for Old Men” has no redeeming qualities and many negatives. I wish I had never seen it. Ever. I hope that its director never directs another movie.

    I haven’t seen the movie but I’ll go further. I don’t think any more movies should be produced, period.

    • #28
  29. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Susan, I don’t know what you should do.

    My suggestion is that you ask your husband what he wants you to do.  From the text of the OP, my impression is that you did so, and that he essentially said not to worry about it, but I’m reading between the lines a bit in reaching that impression.  If you’re concerned about possible risk to him, it seems to make sense to let him be the judge of that risk.

    • #29
  30. JoshuaFinch Coolidge
    JoshuaFinch
    @JoshuaFinch

    I never heard of a case where someone was infected outdoors by someone wearing a mask.  IMHO you do not need to quarantine.

    • #30