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What I learned after having to self-isolate with no warning

It started as a normal day. During the COVID-19 pandemic I am doing my job remotely, so I was at home when I got the call. Thanks to the work of contact tracers, my husband was informed that he had potentially been exposed to COVID-19 and needed to get tested ASAP. While we waited for the results of our tests, we would need to immediately stay home and not leave.

22352_handwashing3_12953504424_o-(1).jpgOkay, so by now it’s no mystery how they are doing COVID-19 tests, and while it’s not something I would do for fun I can say it’s not the terrifying experience I had been dreading. Getting tested is safe, precautions are taken for physical distancing, and the test itself is over quickly. It was a reminder that it's a good practice to keep track of the places you've been and people you've seen - this information could be extremely helpful for contact tracers. 

And then we waited.

We were told to expect the results in three to five days, but even with results the recommendation was to isolate for 10-14 days.  So it was important to think ahead to what we’d do if one or both of us tested positive. 

During the pandemic, it’s important to be ready in case you are not able to leave home, no last trip to pick up supplies, but immediately isolating.

While it’s always important to have your emergency kit ready, being prepared to stay home is a little different. We might be stuck at home, but we still have electricity, Netflix, and WIFI. So, while we relied a little less on non-perishable food items and bottled water, there were things that were good to have already accounted for.

Here are some items to consider having ready:
  • Frozen fruit and veggies are helpful for times when you can’t run to the store
  • Stock up on 14 days worth of:
    • Personal hygiene items including personal protective equipment like masks and gloves
    • Daily personal medications
    • Things that you like to have when you’re not feeling well, like tea
    • Household cleaning products and disinfection products
    • Disposable items like paper towels, tissues, and liners for waste containers
    • Essential items for your family’s needs, like diapers or things for special dietary needs
    • Pet food and supplies
  • Double check your thermometer’s batteries
  • Activities for the family (here are some tips for entertaining kids)
Make your stay home emergency plan:

Most emergency plans deal with what to do if you need to evacuate your home, this is a plan for the opposite! What is your family plan if you have to stay at home right away? We quickly realized this is an important addition to our family’s emergency plan. Here are some things to consider:
  • Can I order groceries for delivery? Will a friend or family member be able to bring you items I need?
  • How can I make sure I am taking care of myself/taking time for self-care when I am self-isolating?
  • Where are the COVID-19 testing facilities near you, how will I travel there to be tested?
  • Can I create a back up plan for responsibilities like helping to care for an elderly family member?
  • If possible, how will I continue working or education?
  • How am I going to regularly self monitor for COVID-19 symptoms
  • Where am I going to isolate myself if needed (for example, using a separate room and bathroom in your home if possible)
In the end, our tests came back negative and life went back to normal. We were very fortunate, but it was an eye-opening experience all the same. COVID-19 is still here, and taking the time to plan for something like an immediate lockdown can help you feel more in control.

Related:
COVID-19 resources: Self-care, working from home, and tips for parents
Free resources and links to entertain at home
Tips for families and caregivers
Tips for those at high risk for complications
 
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