Coronavirus: ER doctor offers tips on self-isolation at home during COVID-19 pandemic

It's not like summer vacation.

For many people trying to protect themselves and others from the spread of novel coronavirus, the first full day of isolating at home feels surreal.

A local emergency room physician showed ABC7 what hunkering down is supposed to look like. Group phone chats help break the monotony of not having school. And for many families staying at home under these circumstances is new territory.

"We need to practice good self-isolation meaning that you should stay home unless you critically have to leave the house," said Dr. Anthony Cardillo, CEO of Mend Urgent Care.

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Cardillo said social distancing during the next two weeks is critical. Preventing spread will protect our healthcare system from getting overwhelmed. Think of it as having a new baby.

"You don't bring that baby outside," he said. "You don't bring them to the shopping mall. You don't have a lot of people coming in and hugging and kissing the baby."

The precautions get more restrictive if you have someone who is sick in your home. Whether it's COVID-19 or the flu, doctors say that a sick person should try to limit their movements to one room.

"And also, everyone should be mindful about wearing masks, wearing gloves, washing hands, washing their face and washing nostrils," Cardillo said. "Making sure there is no opportunity for transmission. Also, washing down all surfaces in your house, cleaning sheets, cleaning all the towels. All of that is part of self-quarantine."

Empty store shelves show many people are panicking, but Cardillo encourages people to just prepare as they would for an earthquake.

He said, "You should have ample water and basic provisions in your house to last you about a month should you have to stay in your house and isolate."

While kids use technology for fun during down time, Cardillo says adults need to use it to check on their elderly loved ones and to work from home.

"We should be communicating more than ever via texting, via phones calls, via FaceTime and using our technology more than ever," Cardillo said.
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