Isolation is required for those individuals who have a confirmed COVID-19 infection or are suspected to have that infection, but do not require hospital stay. Then you are isolated at home (self-isolation) or at locations specified by the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management or by the health care system. While in isolation the staff of your primary care clinic will be in touch with you daily. It is safe for individuals who have a confirmed COVID-19 infection to stay together in isolation.
Isolation is a more severe resource than quarantine and requires stricter behavior than rules of quarantine state. Isolation because of COVID-19 will last until 10 days after fever resolves. If you have a confirmed COVID-19 infection but no fever you will have to give another sample for analysis after a certain time. If that sample is negative for the virus the isolation can be alleviated.
Other members of the household can be in quarantine in the same place if they do not want to leave the home, but should limit touching the one in isolation as much as possible, preferably keep a distance of a minimum 1 meter way from him/her. If more members of the household get sick while this situation progresses, it prolongs the quarantine and possible isolation.
Physicians in the COVID-19 team at Landspitali University Hospital decide and discharge patients from isolation through a phone interview. Individuals have to confirm that they fulfill the following criteria:
- At least 14 days have passed since a positive test result (diagnostic test)
- At least 7 days of no symptoms
In addition, all individuals are instructed to pay particular attention to general hygiene and hand washing for 2 weeks after discharge. They should also for at least 2 weeks avoid close contact with vulnerable individuals who are at higher risk of severe COVID-19 infection such as the elderly and people with certain underlying health conditions .
Symptom-free individuals: This refers to people who, for instance, have been diagnosed with the virus after having been tested by DeCode Genetics (Íslensk erfðagreining) and have been free of symptoms for at least one week. The person is released from isolation 14 days after having tested positive for the virus. To be symptom-free means to have absolutely no fever and absolutely no cough, shortness of breath, runny nose, fatigue, or feeling of being ill.
People who live together and are in quarantine and isolation together: People in quarantine who live in the same place as a person who is in isolation may lift their quarantine when 14 days have passed since the people concerned were last in direct contact. Direct contact includes close interactions, using the same bathroom, or being within two metres of one another for 15 minutes or longer. The same applies to everyone in the same household, including children.
People who live together and are all in isolation in the same place: When the first individual in the group recovers from COVID-19, that person may be released from isolation. The others who are ill must remain in isolation but may not be in the same place as the person who has recovered.
In certain instances, the person who has recovered may remain in the same place as those who are ill. In those cases, the isolation is not lifted until the last person to recover has been released from isolation.
Before isolation is lifted, it is important that all members of the household observe strict hygiene measures and thoroughly clean both themselves and the home. The same applies to everyone in the same household, including children.
Healthcare workers must observe the same rules as others, but they must also give careful consideration to which tasks they carry out when they return to work (i.e., vulnerable groups). A physician and a supervisor shall evaluate each case individually.