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Americans are adjusting to the new normal of staying at home to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, but what should you do if someone you live with has tested positive and is in self-quarantine?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that if anyone in your house has tested positive, everyone in the house should self-quarantine for a minimum of 14 days or longer until the patient has no more symptoms and tests negative.

If a relative has flu-like symptoms but hasn't been tested for coronavirus, global health expert Dr. Macklin E. Guzman told Fox News it's important to call a health provider and be evaluated.

While self-quarantine helps prevent the spread outside the home, it could feel a little like a petri dish inside the house, but the CDC said there are steps family members and roommates can take to stay healthy.

Guzman said if a family member does test positive, “It is generally safe if you follow safeguards to minimize the spread of infection and keep a safe distance from your family member that is ill,” Guzman said.

it coronavirus or a cold? How to safely care for a sick relative

The CDC recommends that infected family members stay in one room away from others as much as possible and use a separate bathroom if available. Visitors should also be kept away from the house.

The door to the sick person’s room should be kept closed and only one family member should attend to that person, according to CDC guidelines.

The person caring for a sick relative should also leave food outside of their room and when the caregiver enters the room both people should wear facemasks.

Elderly household members and those with underlying conditions need to be even more careful to stay away from sick relatives.

Last month, a family of nine in Hong Kong all contracted the virus after they shared a hot pot meal.

Tissues and any other waste should be disposed of in a lined trash can kept away from others.

Experts also suggest infected patients avoid contact with household pets until it's known if animals can contract the virus.

While in self-quarantine with a sick person in the house, healthy people should monitor their own symptoms and temperature and contact a doctor if they start to feel sick.

Especially in small spaces, family members must wash their hands often inside the home and disinfect shared spaces, including items like light switches, doorknobs, TV remotes, books and toys. Basically disinfect everything often.

While it’s not known yet how long COVID-19 can survive on surfaces, recent studies show SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19, can last in the air for hours and on different surfaces for up to 28 days, according to BBC News.

Just one cough can release up to 3,000 droplets that hang in the air or land on surfaces.

The CDC says people touching infected surfaces and then their face is thought to be the main source of spread.


“The best way to protect yourself and your family from COVID-19 is to follow all the same basic practices that are important to protecting yourselves from the flu,” Guzman said. “These practices can apply both inside and outside of the home.”

Alexandria Hein contributed to this report.