The CDC has advised that household spread of COVID-19 should be prevented since it is fast and very common. A study carried out by the agency shows that people that get infected can quickly transmit the infection to their family members even before they get their test results. The study which was released in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report shows that members of a household should take precautions to isolate suspected cases even before test results are obtained.
“One of the fastest ways of preventing household spread is to quickly isolate anyone who is showing symptoms of the virus; such a person should use a separate bedroom and stay away from other family members,” the CDC stated in the study.
About 101 people who had previously tested positive participated in the study conducted from April to September in Nashville, Tennessee, and Marshfield, Wisconsin. The participants and about 191 people who stay with them were trained on how to collect specimens themselves. They were trained to collect nasal swabs and saliva specimens every day for 14 days and also fill a symptom diary.
About 53% of those who lived with the infected participants also contracted the disease within a week. Most of the family members of the participants got infected within five days that the participating family members showed symptoms of COVID-19. The researchers also revealed that both children and adult participants were able to transmit the infection. The household spread rate of 53% recorded in the study is the highest of such research with other researches recording 20% to 40% of infection rate.
The researchers warn that households should immediately isolate members that show symptoms of COVID-19. Dr. Tanya Altmann, a pediatrician has advised that members of the family who are old and others who have weak immune systems should be separated from other members of the household since they can be easily infected.
“Even if it is a child that has to be isolated, families need to make the tough decision of leaving just one adult with the child,” Dr. Altmann added.
Dr. Jenny Radesky, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Michigan explained that for single parents, it might be more difficult to isolate infected children but that parents should request help from neighbors who might be willing to help. Radesky also advised that other family members should self isolate too because they might have contracted the infection already without knowing.
For people who are living alone, the CDC advises that they should self isolate after ensuring they have adequate food, medical supplies, entertainment as well as someone who can regularly check upon them.