How long should you isolate if you have mild Covid-19 symptoms?

Some patients, especially those who had severe symptoms, may need to be booked off sick for longer than the set isolation periods.

According to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), the recommended isolation time for a person with mild Covid-19 symptoms is equal to the period during which a hospitalised patient is considered infectious.

The NICD has urged people to note the importance of differentiating between a fully recovered person and one who is ready to come out of isolation.

However some patients, especially those who had severe symptoms, may need to be booked off sick for longer than the above isolation periods.

Here is a specified criteria for de-isolation of a person who tests positive for Covid-19 by the NCID:

  • Patients with mild symptoms who do not require hospitalisation for Covid-19 can be de-isolated 10 days after the onset of their symptoms, provided their fever has resolved and their other symptoms are improving.
  • Hospitalised patients with moderate-severe disease (who require hospitalisation due to Covid-19) can be de-isolated 10 days after achievement of clinical stability (i.e. from when they are not requiring supplemental oxygen and are otherwise clinically stable).
  • Asymptomatic patients can be de-isolated 10 days after their test.
  • Repeat polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing is not required in order to de-isolate a patient and is not recommended.

ALSO READ: Get treatment immediately for Covid-19 symptoms – health body

The NICD explained that it was common for patients to continue to have symptoms for longer than the 10 days. Full recovery may take several weeks for some patients, especially for symptoms such as fatigue, cough and loss of sense of smell.

Patients who are still symptomatic at the end of their isolation period can be de-isolated provided that their fever has broken and their other symptoms have shown improvement. Patients admitted to hospital can continue their isolation period at home or at an isolation facility once clinical stability has been achieved.

Employees can return to work:

  • 10 days after symptom onset for cases of mild disease
  • 10 days after clinical stability (e.g. after oxygen stopped) for cases of severe disease

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Compiled by Reitumetse Makwea

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