What’s the difference between isolation and quarantine?

corona virus isolated

Everyone has been writing about isolation and quarantine and its relationship to coronavirus. But what’s the actual difference between them? What does isolation mean versus quarantine? How do they help with the contagious virus?

Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said in a release that both isolation and quarantine are important because they “help protect the public by preventing exposure to people who may have a contagious disease.”

Levine continued, “Pennsylvanians should know that we are taking every precaution to keep our communities safe. If someone is sick with COVID-19, they are in isolation at home or at a hospital and getting medical care. If someone is in quarantine, they have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19 and are at home to limit exposure to the community.”

When it comes to isolation, the state says it helps separate people who are sick from those who are not ill and most of the time, it’s voluntary.

On Tuesday, the first case of COVID-19 was announced in Philly. Philly officials reported that the sick person was exposed to a previously confirmed case of COVID-19 and that the person is in isolation at home. They are not in quarantine at this time.

No further information about Philly’s first COVID-19-stricken patient.

As a result of the virus, many people are being placed in quarantine. A person is placed in quarantine when they have been exposed to a contagious disease, and its purpose is to see if they become sick or not.

Most of the time, quarantines are voluntary, but in an outbreak like COVID-19, health officials can require someone to be quarantined if they come in contact with an infected person.

Dr. Levine said in a release that, “While we anticipate that there will be more Pennsylvanians with COVID-19 in the coming days and weeks, it is important for residents to know the commonwealth is prepared and to be prepared themselves.”

Dr. Levine added, “Right now, you have a higher chance of testing positive for COVID-19 if you have traveled to a country or state with known community outbreaks or have come in contact with someone who has the virus. We are working with the health care community across Pennsylvania to keep them informed, consult on patient testing, and ensuring they have the resources they need to care for patients.”

As of Wednesday morning, there at least 14 cases of COVID-19 in the state. A majority of the cases are located in Montgomery County. However, that could easily change.