70 people are quarantined in Shelby County. What does that mean?

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Shelby County officials say in addition to the one person confirmed to have coronavirus, locally 70 people are under a 14-day quarantine.

Health Department director Dr. Alisa Haushalter all of them had some sort of contact with the one confirmed patient, but are presumed healthy at this point.

“A person is quarantined during an incubation period. They’re not sick. They don’t pose a risk to anyone else,” Haushalter said. “It means they’re exposed and could become sick so we want to prevent them from being in public places, so if they become ill, they’re not able to spread the illness.”

Institutions including University of Tennessee Health Science Center and Shelby County Schools say their employees are among those who came in contact and are now quarantined.

Germantown Municipal Schools say they have parents who’ve traveled internationally and are also choosing to quarantine at home with their kids.

Infectious disease specialist Dr. Manoj Jain explained what quarantine means.

“In quarantine we ask patients stay home and they are monitored, stay six feet away from others because we know that’s the distance the virus can spread to others,” Jain said.

That means using a separate bathroom and bedroom, if it’s available.

Jim Pogue says he hadn’t considered what he’d do if he got quarantined, but given what’s happening, it’s probably a good idea.

“That’s prudent. Good to do. Err on the side of caution,” Pogue said.

The Centers for Disease Control say there’s no proof pets can transmit the virus but still advise people to avoid petting and licking.

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