These instructions are about what to do at home if you or someone in your care is confirmed or suspected to have a viral infection from the coronavirus, also called COVID-19. This applies to those who do not need to be hospitalized as well as those who were hospitalized and determined to be medically stable to go home. Following this advice will help prevent spreading COVID-19 to others. Download a two-page reminder you can print and keep.

The person who is sick should:

  • Stay home except to get medical care. This means do not go to work, school or public areas. Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.
  • Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home. As much as possible, you should stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home. Also, you should use a separate bathroom, if available.
  • Call ahead before visiting your doctor.
  • Wear a face mask, if possible, when you are around other people.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, throw the tissue in the trash, and wash or sanitize your hands.
  • Clean your hands often. Wash with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Avoid sharing personal items such as dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels and bedding.
  • Clean all high-touch surfaces at least daily. This includes counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and bedside tables.

Monitor your symptoms

Seek prompt medical attention if your illness gets worse — if you have trouble breathing, for example. Before seeking medical care, remember to:

  • Call your doctor ahead of time.
  • Wear a face mask prior to entering a health care provider’s office or a health care facility.
  • If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the dispatch personnel that you are suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19.

You should continue these steps until your health care provider determines you are no longer able to spread the virus to others. If you have questions, call your care provider or contact Riverside Nurse 24/7 at 800-675-6368.

Caring for someone who is sick with COVID-19

Family and caregivers should be prepared to provide the following support.

Help with basic care

Be ready to help with groceries, prescriptions and other personal needs. The patient will be advised not to leave home except to get medical care.

Make sure you understand patient care instructions related to medicines and treatment plans. If you have questions, call your care provider or contact Riverside Nurse 24/7 at 800-675-6368.

Monitor the patient’s symptoms. If their illness gets worse, call the health care provider. Be sure to tell them that the patient is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19. If the patient has a medical emergency and you need to call 911, notify the dispatch personnel that the patient is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19.

If possible, have the patient wear a face mask when around other people. Limit visitors who do not need to be in the home. Make sure you are the one caring for any pets that are in the home. No one who is sick should handle pets or other animals.

Also make sure that shared spaces in the home have good air flow, such as by an air conditioner or an opened window, weather permitting.

Hand-washing is key

Clean your hands often. Wash with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands. 

Don't share spaces

Stay in another room or be separated from the patient as much as possible. Other members of the household should use a separate bedroom and bathroom, if possible. Avoid sharing household items with the patient such as dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding and other items.

Commit to cleaning 

Clean all “high-touch” surfaces, such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and bedside tables, every day. Also, clean any surfaces that may have blood, stool or body fluids on them. Use a household cleaning spray or wipe, according to the label instructions.

You should also wash laundry thoroughly:

  • Immediately remove and wash clothes or bedding that have blood, stool or body fluids on them.
  • Wear disposable gloves while handling soiled items and keep soiled items away from your body.
  • Clean your hands (with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer) immediately after removing your gloves.
  • Read and follow directions on labels of laundry or clothing items and detergent.

Dispose of used and dirty items properly

Place all used disposable gloves, face masks and other dirty items in a lined garbage container before disposing of them with other household waste.