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We are all focused on staying away from the community-at-large during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, but what happens if someone in your home needs care for coronavirus-like symptoms?

How can you protect yourself and others from the virus? Should you stay away from your loved one? Should that sick person be quarantined? The simple answer is: YES!

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that you plan ahead for this kind of scenario.

Create a Sick Room

Identify a room in your home that can be used in case someone becomes sick. It may seem isolating, but it is probably best to shut the door to this room. In addition, if possible, pick a bathroom that can be used by that sick person and not by others.

If you only have one bathroom, it will have to be disinfected each time the sick person uses it.

Keep a Distance

Family members — as well as pets — should keep a safe distance from the sick person. Common areas like the kitchen should be avoided by the sick person.

Put a trash can with a garbage bag in the sick room and put all trash from the sick person in there. If the weather permits, open a window in that sick room to help get fresh air inside.

Bring in Meals

It is a good idea for meals to be taken to the sick person in that identified room. Do not share any items like plates, cups, silverware, towels and sheets. The person who collects those soiled items from the sick should use gloves. Those items should be washed in hot water with soap.

Clean and Disinfect Frequently

Like always, wash your hands frequently. countertops, doorknobs and other frequently used items. Don't forget to wipe remote controls and any electronic devices like tablets and phones used by others.

Use a Face Mask

Both you and the sick person should use a face mask around each other. The sick person should wear it if they need to move about the home, too, but it is probably best for them to stay put in that sick room.

Caring for Children

Children are not always showing signs of COVID-19, but if you needed to quarantine a child, that can be harder. Parents should wear a mask around the child and wash hands frequently. Any clothes worn around the sick child should be laundered and not worn again until washed. Learn more about kids and coronavirus.

The quarantine period is typically two weeks.

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