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When is it safe to return to normal after a COVID-19 diagnosis?

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If you or someone in your household was diagnosed with coronavirus and were directed to treat the virus at home, you may be wondering when it’s safe to discontinue quarantine and begin reintroducing normal day-to-day activities, such as work and other activities outside of the home.

According to symptom based strategy (CDC), recovery from COVID-19 is defined as:

  • An absence of fever without the use of fever reducing medications for at least three days (72 hours); and
  • Improvement of respiratory symptoms including cough and shortness of breath; and
  • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared

    People who tested positive for COVID-19 who have not had any symptoms may resume normal life when at least ten days have passed since the date of their first positive COVID-1 test, so long as they remain asymptomatic.

    It’s important to note that the CDC has provided this guidance based on available information about COVID-19 and is subject to change as additional information becomes available.

    Once you discontinue complete isolation, you should continue to practice social distancing by limiting your exposure to others and by maintaining 6 feet of distance and wearing a cloth face covering when out in public.

    Social distancing is one of the easiest and most effective ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19. You can consider the following tactics to help you responsibly interact with others:

    • Outdoors
      • Keep your phone in your pocket an be aware of your surroundings when out and about – the less you touch it the better
      • If you are outside biking or walking with multiple members of your household, try to form a single-file line and allow others to pass by you with plenty of distance
    • In Stores or Restaurants
      • Try to dedicate one member of your family to run essential errands. The more you can do to reduce the number of people in a store or public space, the better it is for everyone
      • Try out touchless payment methods or use apps to purchase online and pickup in store when possible
    • At Work
      • Take advantage of teleconference options once you return to your workplace and continue to practice social distancing.
      • Disinfect your workspace frequently and try to avoid shared office supplies and common spaces as much as possible

      Practicing social distancing and correctly using cloth face coverings and masks in public can help protect your friends, community and co-workers from the virus. It also allows our healthcare workers to effectively treat and care for others who have been diagnosed in an effort to save as many lives as possible.

      For the latest updates from Ochsner on COVID-19, visit

      The information in this blog post is accurate at the time of publication. However, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to change, it's possible that information has changed since being published. While Ochsner Health is trying to keep our blog posts as up-to-date as possible, we also encourage readers to stay informed on news and recommendations by using the CDC website.

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