To slow the spread of the coronavirus, Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses to close their physical locations March 19. York Daily Record
The terms previously used for mass shootings and weather disasters have become part of our daily lives as state and federal leaders try to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.
We’re hearing a handful of words often: quarantine, isolation, social distancing and shelter-in-place. These words and actions have the same goal, but they have different meanings.
If you’re wondering what the rules are, we have some brief answers below.
People who have been exposed to the virus are told to quarantine at home for 14 days. If they do not test positive for the virus, they do not have to remain quarantined.
Governments can order local, statewide and national quarantines in times of crisis. As of Sunday, there was not a Pennsylvania quarantine for residents or a national quarantine.
The last time a national quarantine was ordered nationwide was during the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918-1919.
In a quarantine, residents of a home will stay inside until the quarantine is lifted.
People who have tested positive for the virus are told to isolate themselves at home. If they need to be hospitalized, they will be kept in an isolation unit.
During isolation, a person will stay in one room away from other household members to avoid spreading the illness.
There are currently no local, state or federal rules or orders in place for isolation.
Social distancing matters. Here is how to do it and how it can help curb the COVID-19 pandemic. USA TODAY
Everyone is asked to keep at least 6 feet between each other to avoid spreading the coronavirus. This effort includes working from home, closing schools, canceling events and not meeting in groups larger than 10.
Social distancing is recommended in all areas across the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
People are asked to stay at home as much as possible, leaving only for essential reasons. The essentials include food, gas, medical appointments, shared custody drop-offs and pick-ups, and going outside for exercise. When going outdoors is needed, people are told to use social distancing.
California, Illinois, Connecticut, Oregon and New Jersey residents are all ordered to shelter-in-place.
Pennsylvania does not currently have a shelter-in-place order.
New York state is on a PAUSE plan.
It is essentially the same thing as a shelter-in-place order, but New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said “shelter-in-place” is an inappropriate term because people associate it with an active shooting.
His PAUSE order means Policies Assure Uniform Safety for Everyone and it means people must stay home unless they work for essential businesses, such as hospitals, grocery stories and gas stations.
Like with a shelter-in-place order, it allows residents to leave their homes for essential reasons, like going to the grocery store or medical appointments.
When they do go outside, they must practice social distancing and keep 6 feet between each other.
Pennsylvania and other states have ordered all non-essential or non-life-sustaining businesses to close. Businesses that provide necessary services, such as grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations, will stay open.
The list of businesses that are allowed to stay open is being updated continuously.
Enforcement, which applies to businesses only, will begin at 8 a.m. Monday.
Candy Woodall is a reporter for the USA Today Network. She can be reached at 717-480-1783 or on Twitter at @candynotcandace.
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