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How To Safely Separate at Home

Use our handy “How to Safely Separate at Home” guide to find tips to help you safely separate from others in your household if you tested positive for or have been exposed to COVID-19.

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Staying Inside

  • Do not go outside unless you need essential medical care, such as dialysis, or for medical emergencies
    • If you need to go outside to get medical care, wear a mask. Let your doctor know ahead of time that you have been diagnosed with or exposed to COVID-19.
    • If you do not have a doctor, you can call 311 or NYC Health + Hospitals at 844-NYC-4NYC (844-692-4692) for help finding one. NYC Health + Hospitals provides medical care regardless of immigration status or ability to pay.
    • If you need urgent medical care, you can use NYC Health + Hospitals’ ExpressCare service
  • Do not invite people into your home.
  • Have groceries and other items you need delivered to you. If you need assistance with access to food, call the NYC Test & Treat Corps Hotline at 212-540-6923.

Protecting People in Your Household

  • Stay at least six feet from others at all times, avoiding contact with other members of the household and pets
  • Wear a well-fitting mask when you have to be in the same room as others. This protects others because you could spread COVID-19 even if you do not feel sick. Consider wearing two masks or a higher-grade mask, such as a KN95 or KF94, which offer more protection than other disposable or cloth masks. Using a cloth mask over a disposable mask improves the fit and adds layers.
  • Stay in a separate room. If you need to be in the same room, move around furniture to keep at least six feet apart if possible.
  • Sleep alone in a room that has a window with good airflow. If you share a bed, sleep head-to-toe, or one person can sleep on the couch or floor.
  • Use a different bathroom, if possible. If you share a bathroom, clean anything you touch after each use.
  • Use your own plate, bowl and utensils. Do not share these or food with anyone.
  • Avoid sharing other personal household items. This includes combs, toothbrushes, cups, sheets and blankets.
  • If you breastfeed, continue doing so, but wash your hands first and always wear a mask while breastfeeding
    • If you pump, wash pump parts with soap and water right away. Wipe down outside of bottles if other household members will feed the baby.

Washing Your Hands

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Make sure to wash before:
    • Touching other people
    • Making food
    • Touching anything that others use, like medicines and kitchen items
  • If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol

Coughing and Sneezing

  • Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough. Use a tissue, your elbow or your sleeve. Do not use your hands. Throw out used tissues right away and wash your hands afterward.

Keeping Clean

  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that you touch often with soap and water or a household cleaning spray or wipe after each use or at least once every day. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets and sinks.

Staying Well

  • Go to an emergency room or call 911 if you have symptoms such as:
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Shortness of breath
    • Chest pains
    • New confusion
    • Blue lips or face
    • Trouble speaking
    • Facial droop
    • Numbness in the face, arm or leg
    • Seizure
    • Uncontrolled bleeding
    • Weakness or fainting
    • Vomiting that won’t stop
  • For help using a pulse oximeter, sign up for NYC’s free 10-day COVID-19 Oxygen Monitoring Program. Respond to our daily text messages with your oxygen and heart rate, and we will help you get care or inform you when it is safe to stay at home. To enroll, text “COVID” to 89888.
  • Seek mental health support if you need it. It can be stressful to have to stay separated from others. Resources are available to all New Yorkers regardless of immigration status or insurance coverage.
    • NYC Well offers 24/7 well-being and emotional support via phone, text and chat. For free counseling, call 888-NYC-WELL (888-692-9355), text WELL to 65173 or chat online.