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What is the difference between isolation and quarantine?



FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — We’ve heard the terms isolation and quarantine used during this health crisis but what’s the difference between the two?

Dr. Jennifer Dillaha is an infectious disease specialist with the Arkansas Department of Health.

She said when someone tests positive for COVID-19 and is experencing mild to moderate or no symptoms they need to stay away from other people for 10 days.

She said those who develop more severe symptoms or end up hospitalized will need to isolate for at least 20 days.

Those in quarantine are people who were exposed to someone who contracted the virus and must wait up to 14 days to see if they develop it themselves.

“If they get tested those 14 days they still need to complete the 14 days of quarantine because they could potentially develop the illness after their test if it’s within that 14 day period,” she said.

Dr. Dillaha said regardless if you are in quarantine or isolation, you need to stay away from others in your household. If you have to come in contact with them – wear a face mask and stay at least six feet away.