We have always lived in a world in which being around other people involves the risk of catching something: a cold, the flu, a stray baseball as we pass by the park. But now that Covid is in the world, the chances of catching something are higher and the ramifications include not just illness but a higher risk of death, neurological problems, and more.
While I know some people who scoff at this, I try to take extra precautions when I travel. Yes, this is so I can stay healthy, but it is also so I don’t bring the virus home to share with my family members, some of whom are at particular risk of serious complications should they get Covid.
Below is the post-travel Covid procedure that my partner and I devised. I do this every time I go on a trip, which, if you’ve taken a look at the Travel category on this blog, I do quite a lot. If you have suggestions for alterations, I’d love to hear what you think.
Duration and tests
- For five full days from the day that you arrive home. (We originally had this at one week, but decided it was overkill.)
- If at any time you exhibit any symptoms then you take a Covid test and assume you have Covid.
- Take a Covid test at the end of the week, even if asymptomatic.
- Only if asymptomatic and have a negative test at the end of the week can you go back to normal. (But avoid contact with high-risk people for another week.)
- Designate a space that is for the quarantining person — this should include a bathroom, a place to sleep, and be able to function as an office.
- The door to this room is to be kept closed at all times.
- As weather permits, open as many windows as possible throughout the house.
- Upon arriving at home, do not bring luggage into the house.
- Either in garage, outside, or in some other place that is well ventilated and far from others, unpack and do the following:
- Put all clothes, even those that were not worn, into a pile or laundry bag
- Everything that was on the trip that you don’t immediately need is left in the garage for the duration of this protocol.
- Only take with you what is needed in the coming week. Spray with alcohol to disinfect.
Shower and start quarantine
After your initial processing of luggage, described above:
- Go straight to the Designated Quarantine Space
- Discard your mask
- Take a shower, afterwards put on new clothes
- Add your old clothes to the laundry bag used for luggage processing
- Put on a NEW mask, then go do the laundry (also wash the laundry bag)
- However if you are symptomatic, then you should not go to the laundry room and someone else will need to do your laundry (wearing a mask and washing after touching the laundry bag).
- Spray anything you touched in the laundry room
- Return to the Designated Quarantine Space and stay there.
- No need to wear a mask in the Designated Quarantine Space
Food and beverages
If you are symptomatic, then you cannot get your own food. Otherwise, you can go get your own food, but:
- First text others in the household to tell them you will be in the kitchen so they can stay away
- You must wear a mask
- Spray down anything you touched before you leave
Upon returning from a trip, you have a solid 1-week ban on visiting others. This should extend to 2 weeks if the person is high-risk, elderly, or there is a baby.
The image at the top of this post is from a page of masking memes on escape.com.au