Step 2b: Assessing quarantine support needs
Emphasis should be placed on helping close contacts identify any need for social support during quarantine.
Quarantine of close contacts exposed to COVID-19 prevents transmission to others and is critical to the success of case investigation and contact tracing efforts. For most, quarantine can take place at home. If possible, close contacts should be asked to voluntarily stay home, monitor themselves, and maintain social distance from others. Recommendations for close contacts vary based on their up to date vaccination status or history of prior infection in the past 90 days. Close contacts who are required to quarantine should follow the recommendations outlined on the COVID-19 Quarantine and Isolation webpage. Adherence to quarantine instructions may depend on the support provided to close contacts.
Quarantine requires that a close contact remain in a specific room separate from other non-exposed people and pets in the home, and ideally with access to a separate bathroom. The contact tracer should assess an individual’s ability to quarantine in a safe environment that provides access to a private room and bathroom, as well as access to adequate food and water among other considerations.
For a portion of the U.S. population, having a safe environment with a private room and bathroom, and adequate food and water will be a challenge. Considerations must also be made for close contacts who express fear of abuse or violence if they must quarantine at home. Additionally, some close contacts (e.g., single parents, nursing mothers, parents with children and toddlers, and other primary caregivers) may face other challenges, such as having to provide child care or dependent adult care, that may affect their ability to quarantine. Social services, housing, and other supportive services will be needed for those contacts who are unable to separate themselves from others in their current living situation. See Support Services for further considerations.
Close contacts will also need to be supported with health coaching to ensure that each day they monitor their temperature and the onset of any COVID-19 symptoms and have access to clinical services should symptoms appear. Coordination of access to telehealth services may be needed for contacts without virtual access to a primary care provider. If possible, close contacts in need of additional support should be provided a COVID-19 kit with the following resources during quarantine*:
*The composition of the COVID-19 kit will depend on the jurisdiction’s resources.