What to Do if a Roommate Tests Positive for COVID-19
Despite everybody’s best efforts, it happened. One of your roommates has tested positive for COVID-19. The first thing to do is not panic. By employing safety measures and following the rules for your city, state or county can help you and the rest of your household stay safe. First of all, there are two terms related to COVID-19 exposure that frequently get confused because there is some overlap. Isolation is when a person has been infected and is sick and must stay away from others in the residence. Quarantine is for anybody who believes they have been exposed or have been in contact with someone who may be infected or have been exposed. So, if one of your roommates has COVID, then you need to quarantine, while they need to isolate.
CDC guidelines recommend that quarantine periods last for at least 14 days after you believe you have been exposed, and the caveat is that if no symptoms appear. If you start showing symptoms, then go get tested. If you test positive and become ill, you should remain in isolation for at least 10 days after the symptoms first appeared and 24 hours after there is no incidence of fever — without taking OTC medication.
The person who has tested positive should stay isolated from their other roommates as much as possible, which usually means that they need to stay in their bedroom. It doesn’t matter if they feel just fine; they are still highly contagious. If you must have contact with your sick roommate, both of you must wear masks. Limit interaction and maintain a distance of at least six feet, if at all possible.
While this may be difficult in an apartment, reserve one bathroom solely for the sick person to use. If your apartment only has one bathroom, then it needs to be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected after the person with COVID uses it. Do not share towels, drinking cups, eating utensils or dishware. Take food and snacks to your ailing roommate on a tray and leave it outside their bedroom door. Clean, clean and clean all common surfaces in the apartment to prevent spread of the virus.
Keep track of your sick roommate’s symptoms and watch for them in household members who have been exposed and haven’t gotten sick (yet). The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include: fever, dry cough, extreme fatigue and loss of taste and smell. More severe symptoms include shortness of breath, confusion and bluish tint to the face and lips, in which case, you should call 911. There are many symptom checkers online that will assess symptoms and recommend whether you need testing or to contact your doctor. Many doctors are now offering telehealth visits so you can avoid going to the doctor’s office and increasing risk for yourself and others.
In the meantime, while everybody in your apartment is in some stage of COVID, do the best that you can. Reach out for support online. You can connect with family and friends or community sites where you can share your feelings and get advice. Take advantage of food delivery by restaurants and grocery stores.
Remember, you can’t help others if you aren’t feeling well yourself. Wear a mask, social distance and take good care of yourself — mentally and physically.
During this season of COVID-19, the property management teams at Vision Communities are committed to keeping our residence healthy and safe. We have instituted social distancing and masks guidelines throughout the Vision communities, and we are looking forward to launching a full calendar of events for our residents when things return to normal.
If you are looking for an apartment in the Columbus area or in Akron/Canton, contact our team for availability.