Caring for Someone with COVID-19

Caring for Someone with COVID-19

If you or someone you are taking care of is experiencing any of the following symptoms, call emergency services (911)

Trouble breathing
Persistent pain/pressure in the chest
New confusion
Inability to wake or stay awake
Bluish lips or face

As a caregiver for someone in your household with COVID-19, you are also in isolation. That’s why it’s so important that your household have a “pandemic pal” or several who can run errands, bring you groceries, and so on.

You should also be tested, even if you are not showing symptoms.Get tested as soon as the person you are caring for finds out they are positive for COVID-19, especially if you have had a lot of contact with them.

  1. Get a PCR or Antigen test.
  2. Even if you test negative, there is a chance that the test is a false negative if you are very early in your infection.
  3. Get tested while you are caring for someone with COVID 19 if you experience any symptoms.

In the meantime presume you are infected.

Get tested again after the person you are caring for is better to be sure you have not contracted the virus. Do not interact with others and let your guard down until you have a negative test.

The CDC recommends caregivers stay home for at least 14 days after their last close contact with someone who is sick, or 14 days after the person being cared for meets the criteria to end home isolation

Sharing Space with Someone with COVID-19

Separate yourself from other people in the household.

  1. Maintain 6 feet of distance if possible
  2. Wear a face mask even at home
  3. Use different bedrooms, bathrooms, and other living spaces if possible
  4. If possible, let the sick person clean their space to limit your exposure
  5. Eat separately
If you must share a bedroom
  1. Consider using physical dividers (shower curtains, room screen dividers, hanging blankets, etc.) to separate the “ill” side of the bed
  2. Use fans and open windows to increase circulation
  3. Sleep head to toe
If you must share a bathroom
  1. Open doors/windows and use ventilation fans to increase air circulation
  2. If possible, let sick individuals disinfect the bathroom after they use it
  3. Wait as long as possible to enter the bathroom after they have used it

Personal Protective Equipment

Masks: Both the sick person and the caregiver should wear masks when interacting with each other.

Gloves: Wear gloves when handling a sick individual’s blood, stool, or other body fluids (saliva, mucus, vomit, etc.). DO NOT REUSE GLOVES. Remove gloves properly. Throw used gloves out immediately and wash your hands.



  1. Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly
  2. After cleaning/disinfecting surfaces
  3. After caring for sick individual
  4. After returning home from a necessary errand
  5. After handling high-touch surfaces (doorknobs, shared computers, surfaces, etc.)
  6. Avoid touching your face.
  7. Clean (remove dirt, etc.) then disinfect (kill bacteria/viruses) surfaces/items in shared areas. Use approved disinfectants when disinfecting areas.
  8. Wash and dry laundry regularly. Wear gloves when handling dirty laundry.

Doing the Laundry

Dirty laundry can be a source of contamination. Cleaning it properly and carefully will help prevent infection. If you are caring for someone in the house who is sick or you’re cleaning the clothes of a family member who may have been exposed to the coronavirus, consider those clothes contaminated and keep them in a separate laundry bin until it’s time to do the wash.


  1. Place a washable or disposable liner in that laundry bin so that you can either launder it or throw it away after you remove the dirty clothes.
  2. Use gloves when handling clothes and/or wash hands immediately after
  3. Wash contaminated clothes and linens as usual, but launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely
  4. Bleach or color-safe bleach may help inactivate viral microbes in the wash
  5. Dryers may be better than hanging the clothes to dry because the heat may also help inactivate any viral microbes. Dry fabrics are less likely to transfer germs than wet ones.
  6. Clean surfaces of washing machine and the laundry bin with bleach or other household disinfectant after you’ve removed the dirty clothes.

Can Pets Catch or Share COVID-19?

COVID-19 can be passed from humans to cats, but there is no evidence suggesting it can be passed on from cats to humans. Previous studies of SARS (a different virus) found that cats can be infected and pass that virus on to other cats. But there was no indication during the SARS pandemic that SARS-CoV became widespread in house cats or was transmitted from cats to humans.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people with COVID-19 limit contact with their pets, including avoiding stroking them, being licked and sharing food.

Do not wash your pets with caustic solutions of bleach, etc.