What are the differences between social distancing, quarantine and isolation?

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  • Social distancing
    • Who is it for? Anyone who hasn’t been exposed to the disease.

    • What is it? A day-to-day precautionary measure used by non-exposed people to help prevent the spread of a disease.

  • Quarantine
    • Who is it for? People or groups of people who don’t currently have symptoms but were exposed to the disease.

    • What is it? A prevention strategy used to monitor and separate well people who may have been exposed to a disease for a certain amount of time to see if they become ill. Helps prevent the spread of disease. Usually takes place in the home.

  • Isolation
    • Who is it for? People who are already sick with the disease.

    • What is it? A prevention strategy used to separate people who are sick with an infectious disease from healthy people. Helps limit the spread of disease. Can take place in the home or hospital. Healthcare providers often send patients to home-isolation when they no longer require medical attention.

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