From quarantine to self-isolation: Testing positive for COVID-19

On April 11, I got a call from Nationwide Children’s Hospital where I had previously had an appointment at the day before. Assuming it was a regular post-appointment call I had answered, only to find out I was wrong. I had tested positive for COVID-19.

My father had never been tested for the coronavirus but treated himself as if he had been to be safe and had been in self isolation for about 14 days with a bad cough. I had to get some tests done at the hospital with different health care professionals, and due to my home situation, I needed to be tested for the virus in order to make sure the doctors or nurses were not at risk. I had zero symptoms and was told not to worry because the test would most likely come back negative.

The phone called I had received the next day shocked me to say the least. I felt perfectly fine, how could I possibly have the virus? Out of the tens of thousands of confirmed coronavirus cases, I could barely grasp the fact that I was one amongst those numbers. It was some difficult news to handle at first, and it came with many rules.

The only traveling I was allowed to do for seven days straight was from my bedroom to the bathroom. I had to wipe down everything I touched before and after I did so. All doors had to be shut at all times, and I had to wear a mask and gloves.

The test itself was extremely painful and it truly was an experience I wouldn’t wish upon anyone. If that isn’t reason enough to take the proper precautions, then isolation itself should be.

I didn’t realize it at first, but there is an immense difference between quarantine and self-isolation. Quarantine is what the entire state has been doing for weeks: staying home. However, self-isolation is not leaving the setting of your bedroom. Once my case was confirmed, I was stuck between the same four walls for seven days straight.

The Center of Disease Control, better known as the CDC, called my house frequently as they are constantly learning about the virus themselves.

Originally, I was told to stay in self-isolation for 14 days and as long as I was still symptom free followed by a seven-day quarantine still with a mask and gloves. Several days into my isolation, I had received another CDC call and was told it was only necessary to do a seven-day isolation ending with a three-day quarantine.

I admit, before I was tested, none of this seemed real. Reading about a global pandemic and seeing it all over the news is one thing but living through it is a whole other.

I frequently see the phrase “coronacation” being used all over social media. Some even make jokes about social distancing, but this is no joke and should be taken seriously. People have taken this time and these circumstances very lightly, but that needs to end.

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