A guide to survive ‘isolation due to exposure’

Published January 14, 2022, 11:30 AM

by Pinky Concha-Colmenares


Pinky Concha Colmenares

Many people have found their routines completely changed by the now-standard-act of going into isolation after getting exposed to a person who tests positive for COVID-19.

It may sound like a break or a holiday to some, a work-from-home arrangement to others, but to many people, it is a period when one will not have income.

To most everyone tough, the period of isolation — now shortened to seven days if one is fully vaccinated — is a complete change in one’s routine.  And more people are going into this period because of the surge in the number of new COVID cases every day.

On Day One of isolation, many will not notice any change, it may even feel like a light day. But when Day Three comes along, the changes will begin to show through impatience, short temper, or outward irritability. That’s especially so if one going through isolation feels the same as when he or she found out that about the exposure to a COVID-positive family member, colleague, or stranger.

I am now going through a seven-day isolation due to exposure.  Although I continue to work from home (WFH) as I have done many times in the past year, WFH due to isolation is very different from simply WFH.  I realized that on Day Two.  I could not go out of my gate to fetch what the delivery man had for me.  I could not take a walk outside our courtyard.  I could not go to my appointment to have a booster shot because I may be positive and may infect the others.

I wanted to end my isolation by having a COVID test.  But the doctor advised that a test should be done five to seven days after exposure.  If done earlier, it will likely be negative.  That thwarted my plan to take a test, and with a negative result, go to get my booster.  No, I would still be under the “exposed to COVID positive” category, which a Department of Health advisory said should isolate to cut the transmission path of the virus.

And realizing that brought me to a depressing thought.  With my space radically reduced, the thought of “What if I’m infected?” — floats in and out of my mind, and stays longer when work is done, my exercise routine is over, and sleep does not come at 2 a.m.

There are still three days to go before I take the test to clear me to go out of isolation.  Since there is no guide on how to survive an isolation-due-to-exposure week, I will share what is helping me cope:

1. Pray in the morning and before you sleep.

2. Exercise for at least an hour (it will tire you enough to make you sleep).  There are many workout videos for all fitness levels in youtube.

3. If you can work-from-home, bury yourself in work even after your official office hours.  Work will make you feel significant.

4. Read a book.

5. Hope that your internet provider is providing you with what you paid for — the connectivity to WFH, watch Netflix, and workout with a youtube instructor.  If your provider is like mine, prepare to fend off exasperation that adds to the anxiety of being isolated.  Or have your phone data ready to take over.

6. And, arrange and re-arrange your closets.