COVID-19: Understanding the difference… Social distancing, isolation, quarantine


MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – You may need to self-quarantine, isolate, or practice social distancing, as the coronavirus continues to spread. As these unfamiliar terms become more common each day, local doctors help break down each of their meanings.

Quarantine refers to someone exposed to the virus and at risk for infection. While they don’t have symptoms yet, they have had a higher chance of exposure.

Advice for quarantined patients: try to have someone bring you any needs, groceries, or medicine.

Social distancing encourages increasing your distance with others— eliminating handshakes, hugs, and large crowds in shopping malls, movie theaters, and offices. The term suggests people stay keep at least a six-foot distance.

As large events and mass gatherings can contribute to the COVID-19 spread, the CDC recommends “for the next 8 weeks, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States.”

Isolation refers to patients infected with the disease. Isolated patients would then receive strict treatment from medical staff requiring more protective gear.

The first thing we would is put a mask on the individual cause we know that person can spread it by coughing sneezing and we will put a mask on the individual so that they will quit spreading the germs,” Tidelands Health’s VP of Medical Affairs, Dr. Gerald Harmon said. “Then we will ask those who are taking care of the patient to put on a mask and plastic protection gloves a face shield so they won’t get exposed to our face.”

Healthcare workers are taking precautions for their own safety by asking high-risk patients to be tested for COVID-19 to stay in their cars. Doctors will bring testing and treatment to them while dressed in appropriate gear.

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