What is Quarantine? By Dr. Kate McIntosh

Vermont Community

What is Quarantine?

By Dr. Kate McIntosh, Pediatrician and Senior Medical Director at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont

Quarantine means staying at a home or dwelling for 14 days starting on the day you were potentially exposed to COVID-19.

Quarantine means:

  • No grocery shopping or any other errands
  • No getting together with friends or family
  • No leaving the house to go to work
  • No activities outside of the house, including exercising near other people
  • No childcare
  • No playdates
  • People in individual quarantine should separate themselves from others in the house and check themselves daily for symptoms

If you have someone quarantining in your house as an individual:

  • They need to stay in a separate room or an isolated part of the house, in their own bedroom and bathroom if possible
  • Do not mingle or allow that person in the rest of the house
  • Everyone must wear masks in the house
  • You should prepare their food for them and not share a kitchen
  • Eat separately

This is not fun, but it is critically important!  If you cannot follow these guidelines, then the whole household must quarantine.

If you are quarantining in your house as the whole household:

  • You cannot go to work outside the house
  • No grocery shopping or other errands
  • No going into town
  • No playdates
  • No childcare
  • Only exercise outside if you are truly alone and won’t see anyone accidentally

If you have family coming from out of state, you must complete 14 days of quarantine after they have left, unless they did a 14-day strict quarantine at home before coming and then drove straight up without stopping. (14 days means it is too late to start that now).

  • This applies to college students returning home from out of state.
    • If you travel out of state to pick up your child, you must quarantine when you return.
  • Do not rely on testing to feel “safe” for the holiday.



Leaving Quarantine After 7 Days:

  • Anyone currently under quarantine who has had no symptoms during the first seven days of quarantine has the option to be tested.
  • The test must be a PCR test, not a “rapid” antigen test, which are notoriously unreliable.
  • You cannot end quarantine until you receive the negative result of your test; so, in reality quarantine must last a minimum of 9-10 days while awaiting the results.
  • You must have absolutely no symptoms to leave quarantine.
  • Be aware that this is not foolproof.
  • We have multiple examples of COVID appearing after 7 days and a negative test.


Preparing for Winter:

  • Try to embrace the change of seasons. Bundle up and get outside every day. Take a walk, run, or cross country ski.
  • Focus on the positives.
  • Practice gratitude.
  • Appreciate your family, friends and your co-workers, and give genuine compliments and praise.
  • Use technology to stay connected with your friends, family and co-workers.
    • Use video connections when possible.
    • Be aware of depression or other concerning behaviors and encourage them to ask for help.