Since late April 2021, my entire household has been fully-vaccinated for COVID-19. We’ve been following local mask mandates, and wearing masks indoors. Unfortunately, in early September, my fully-vaccinated healthy 18-year-old daughter tested positive for COVID-19. 70% of her college campus was vaccinated, and they required masks indoors, except when eating and drinking. She came home for 10 days of isolation, as required by the campus. For 5 of those days she had a fever and flu-like symptoms. I know every household’s situation is different, but being prepared and ready for a COVID-19 positive diagnosis can help lower stress if it happens.
My tips on how to prepare for a COVID-19 case in your home:
- Have 10 days worth of meals stored in your kitchen (if possible). These can be canned meals, soups, pastas, frozen dinners, etc. Just be ready in case you can’t go to the grocery store. Although, remember you can arrange for grocery delivery, if necessary.
- If you have pets, have 10 days worth of pet food stored in your home.
- Have extra orange juice stored in the freezer. If someone has COVID-19, they will need a lot of fluids such as orange juice.
- Stock up on tissues and on medications commonly used for fevers and flu symptoms like Tylenol and Dayquil. Make sure you have enough of these to last a couple of weeks (or for multiple people, if more are infected).
- Stock up on soap, hand-sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes.
- Set aside one bedroom and one bathroom for the infected person’s private use (if this is possible in your household).
- Have a tray available to bring meals to and from the infected person.
- Have at-home COVID-19 test kits, or information and access to regular COVID-19 testing for all other household members. My household went to drive-through testing sites provided by my county every 3 days to make sure we weren’t asymptomatic carriers.
- Have enough face masks for all, and make sure you and the infected person wear those when in the same room.
- Keep an updated calendar. Whether on paper or digitally, during this pandemic time, keep an updated calendar of where you’ve been. This will make it easier to notify people you saw in the days prior to testing COVID-19 positive, so they know to be tested as well.
- Follow your CDC and local health department guidelines as to how long the infected person should isolate and close contacts should quarantine. At the time of my daughter’s diagnosis, it was 10 days. My family cancelled every in-person activity for 10 days, including in-person work, and moved all that we could online.
My daughter fully recovered, and no one else in the household was infected during the 10 days of isolation and quarantine. Being well prepared made it easier for us to quickly quarantine and stay as safe and as healthy as possible when we received the news of a positive COVID diagnosis in our household.