It’s really true what they say, huh? You’ll never know the full extent of what COVID-19 can do to you until you’re personally hit with it.
Recently, my family and I got quite a scare.
My cousin, who was very close to us, caught the virus from her husband, who had just come back from his hometown. At first, it wasn’t really a big deal to anyone because she was so confident that she didn’t have it — she wasn’t showing any symptoms and her oxygen level was normal.
But when she took the swab test; it came back positive.
She told us all to also do the same since we were in close contact with her. Although scared, we did as we’re told. And a day later, we were all quarantined at home, as advised by KKM while we waited for our results to come out.
It turns out that quarantining at home isn’t as easy as we thought it would be. Here are some things that you need to know and be aware of, just in case it happens to you too.
If You Have COVID-19
If your swab test comes back positive but you don’t seem to show any symptoms, it doesn’t mean that you should prance around like you’re healthy. Just because you feel like you’re okay, it doesn’t mean you can’t also spread the virus to other people.
And we don’t know how their bodies are going to take it. Everyone is different.
If you find out you’re COVID-19 positive after the first swab test, you can take another swab test at the end of your quarantine period — which is 14 days — to make sure that you’re negative. If you’re still positive even after 14 days, you are allowed to go outside. People who have tested positive or who have been sick with COVID-19 often continue to test positive for up to three months, but these viral remnants degrade over time.
They can’t harm you, and they can’t infect anyone else, but they can cause you to continue to test positive. It’s important to remember that the day of your quarantine starts from the day you get your swab test, not the day that you’ve been in contact with someone who is COVID-19 positive.
These aren’t like the fancy bracelets you’d be willing to flaunt around. These bracelets are there to remind you that you’re currently not allowed to leave your house under any circumstances.
You have to wear them at all times and shouldn’t ever take them off. Even if you can. And I know that some of you have no self-control when it comes to being locked indoors. The bracelets will be cut off at the end of your quarantine period.
What some of you might fail to realise is that your MySejahtera is also affected when you’ve tested positive. You might be able to go outside and lie your way into making people think you’re alright. But your MySejahtera will snitch on you.
It would automatically update your status after you’ve filled up the status form and state that you are COVID-19 positive and they will tell you when your quarantine period starts and ends. Hence, there really isn’t any way you can get out of it.
Make no mistake, KKM will call you if you haven’t updated your form yet and will ask you to continuously update your COVID-19 status every day. The KKM officers will also check your MySejahtera profile to make sure you were indeed at home during the 14 days.
During your quarantine period, you should check your temperature and oxygen levels every day. You might look healthy on the outside but your oxygen level would tell you otherwise. You can check your oxygen levels by using an oximeter that you can buy on Shopee or from your local pharmacies.
A normal oxygen rate for someone who’s healthy is 95% or higher. If your home SpO2 (percent saturation of oxygen in the blood) reading is lower than 95%, call your healthcare provider to find out what to do next.
It’s so important for you to keep minimal to zero contact with anyone. Even your family members — no, especially your family members. You wouldn’t want your loved ones to be infected as well, would you?
It’s safer to isolate yourself in your room and have meals sent to your door instead.
If you have to be in contact with anyone, please double mask and sanitise yourself afterwards. Just because you have COVID-19 doesn’t mean you shouldn’t also follow SOPs. If you miss people, you can just call them via video call from your phone!
If You’re A Close Contact
This is a little lighter. A close contact is someone who’s been in contact within six feet of a COVID-19-positive patient for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.
If you’ve been in contact with a person that has COVID-19, even after doing the swab test and it turning out negative, you should also take it upon yourself to quarantine. You really can’t be too careful.
Sometimes, there are cases when your swab test is a false negative and after five to seven days, you could turn out to be positive. So, better safe than sorry, am I right?
It’s not necessary for you to do a swab test if you still haven’t developed symptoms and have completed a 10-day quarantine. But if you want to be 100% positive that you don’t have COVID-19, I would suggest you actually get a second swab test.
This is mainly for your benefit and reassurance, because after 10 days and you still have no symptoms, it’s safe to say that you’re in the clear.
If you take a swab test with KKM, you’re also required to wear a bracelet that they give you. If you do swab tests in private clinics and hospitals, you aren’t required to wear a bracelet.
If you have the bracelets on, the rules of taking it off also apply to you as it is with people who are COVID-19 positive.
If you think you can get away with taking them off, just be aware that KKM makes random spot checks to houses that have done swab tests with them. Mainly to ensure that people are following the SOPs stated.
For this, you’d have to update your MySejahtera status and they’ll tell you when your quarantine period starts and when it ends. Similarly, you’d have to update your status every day to ensure that you are actually healthy. With the quarantine status in your app, you aren’t allowed to go out and socialise.
Those caught not following the home quarantine order by the director-general or people with authority, could be fined up to RM50,000 or six months’ jail or both under Regulation 17 (1) of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures Within the Infected Local Areas) Regulations 2021 according to Sibu Divisional Disaster Management Committee coordinator Dr Annuar Rapaee.
Even if you don’t have symptoms, you still have to take care of your health. By this, test your oxygen levels using an oximeter and check your temperature every day as well. Those with oxygen levels below 90% are advised to rush to the hospital.
You shouldn’t take this matter lightly. If it isn’t COVID-19, then it might still be something else. It’s better to not delay your hospital visit just because you “feel fine” and think that the oximeter is faulty. We’re in the middle of a pandemic. Please, I beg of you, don’t take your illnesses lightly.
You can have contact with other people but keep it minimal. You should also always remember to sanitise yourself after you’ve touched anything. Yes, even though you’re home. Better yet, you should sanitise your whole house. That way, you know that you’re safe.
And if you’re picking up things like meals or packages from outside, wear a mask and gloves. You can never be too careful. You might test negative at the time and you’re in quarantine, but won’t all that be a waste if you manage to catch the disease because you were careless from getting food?
You Look Happy and Healthy But Where’s Your SOPs?
It should be stressed how very important it is to take care of yourself and your SOPs while you’re in quarantine. Actually, scratch that, even before you quarantine, you should be taking care of your SOPs.
Because nowadays, people are taking SOPs too lightly. You’re not wearing your masks properly, you don’t maintain social distance when you’re out and about, are you guys just basically giving up? With the new variant making itself known and is slowly creeping up on us, aren’t you guys worried at all?