COVID Exposure vs COVID Infection: Here’s the Difference

COVID Exposure vs COVID Infection: Here’s the Difference

COVID-19 is a highly contagious virus that has been spreading worldwide, leaving many people severely ill or diseased.

In the United States, we have been reaching an alarming amount of COVID-19 cases. Nevertheless, it is important to understand that exposure will not always lead to being infected with COVID.

In this article, we will elaborate on what exposure to COVID-19 is, who is at high-risk from getting COVID-19 after exposure, what is contact tracing, and more.

What counts as exposure to COVID-19? 

Exposure to COVID-19 happens when you have had close contact — lees than 6 feet of distance, for 15 minutes or more — with individuals who fall into the following categories:

  • Any person who has COVID-19 symptoms and that has not met the requirements to discontinue home isolation. Meaning, a healthcare professional has not established that their symptoms are due to an illness different from COVID-19 OR that the individual has not yet gotten laboratory results showing they no longer have COVID-19.
  • Any person who has tested positive for Coronavirus — including people who didn’t have any symptoms — and were not allowed to discontinuing home isolation yet.

Exposure to COVID-19 still counts regardless if you wore a mask or personal protective equipment (PPE) when you had contact with COVID infected individuals.

What should I do if I’ve been exposed to someone who had COVID19?

If you have had contact with someone who had an active infection of COVID, according to the CDC guidelines, here is what you should do:

  • Self-Isolate. As soon as you suspect you may have COVID-19 due to exposure, you must immediately quarantine yourself at home for 14 days. Even if you don’t have symptoms, you should stay away from others.
  • Watch out for Symptoms. Monitor your health state and check for any COVID-19 symptoms — fever, chills, difficulty breathing, headaches, vomit, diarrhea, body aches, coughing, fatigue, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, among others.

I live with someone who has COVID19, how long do I need to self-isolate?

If a member of your household has COVID-19, your quarantine time-lapse will depend on the amount of exposure you have:

  • For people who CAN avoid close contact with the COVID-19 patient, they must quarantine for 14 days after exposure. If during quarantine, you have close contact with the COVID-19 infected individual, you will have to restart the 14 day quarantine time lapse.
  • For people who CANNOT avoid close contact. They must wait until both the COVID-19 infected person and themselves meet the requirements to end home isolation. You may need to get tested and report if you had any symptoms to a healthcare professional.

What is Contact Tracing?

Health departments use contact tracing as a method to prevent and diminish the spread of an infectious illness, in this case, Coronavirus.

Here is how contact tracing works for COVID-19:

  1. Identifying people with COVID-19 and any person they had close contact (being near them for less than a 6 feet distance for 15 minutes or more).
  2. People who had close contact with someone with COVID-19 will be asked to isolate at home for about 14 days.
  3. Potentially infected people will have to monitor and report any symptoms to a healthcare provider until they meet the criteria to end quarantine.

If you suspect to have COVID-19 and worry you may have infected others, please contact healthcare authorities so they can immediately begin contact tracing. Your privacy will be protected since healthcare workers will not reveal your name to your contacts under any circumstances.

BASS Urgent Care complies with all the CDC guidelines regarding the spread of COVID-19. Visit our Urgent Care Online portal and get immediate medical attention from the comfort of your home. Let us help you.