Back to Top Skip to main content

COVID-19: Know what the terms mean

Soldiers stationed on U.S. Army Garrison Casey conduct pre-screening processes on individuals awaiting entry to the base, USAG-Casey, Dongducheon, Republic of Korea, Feb. 26, 2020. Additional screening measures of a verbal questionnaire and temperature check are in response to the heighted awareness of Coronavirus (COVID-19) following a surge in cases throughout the Republic of Korea and are meant to help control the spread of COVID-19 and to protect the force. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Amber I. Smith) Soldiers stationed on U.S. Army Garrison Casey conduct pre-screening processes on individuals awaiting entry to the base, USAG-Casey, Dongducheon, Republic of Korea, Feb. 26, 2020. Additional screening measures of a verbal questionnaire and temperature check are in response to the heighted awareness of Coronavirus (COVID-19) following a surge in cases throughout the Republic of Korea and are meant to help control the spread of COVID-19 and to protect the force. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Amber I. Smith)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Public Health | Combat Support | Coronavirus

With cases of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, emerging across the globe, governments, organizations, and individuals are taking appropriate steps to protect themselves and others from spreading the respiratory disease that has already infected thousands. Along with increased and enhanced force health protection measures, many people are also learning a new vocabulary that goes along with protecting communities from communicable diseases.

For example, terms frequently used to describe community and self-protection measures include quarantine, isolation, and social distancing. But, what is the difference? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Quarantine in general means the separation of a person or group of people reasonably believed to have been exposed to a communicable disease but not yet symptomatic, from others who have not been so exposed, to prevent the possible spread of the communicable disease.
  • Isolation means the separation of a person or group of people known or reasonably believed to be infected with a communicable disease and potentially infectious from those who are not infected to prevent spread of the communicable disease. Isolation for public health purposes may be voluntary or compelled by federal, state, or local public health order.
  • Social distancing means remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible.
  • Congregate settings are crowded public places where close contact with others may occur, such as shopping centers, movie theaters, stadiums.
  • Close contact is defined as:

a) being within approximately 6 feet (2 meters) of a COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time; close contact can occur while caring for, living with, visiting, or sharing a health care waiting area or room with a COVID-19 case

– or –

b) having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case (e.g., being coughed on).

  • Self-observation means people should remain alert for subjective fever, cough, or difficulty breathing. If they feel feverish or develop cough or difficulty breathing during the self-observation period, they should take their temperature, self-isolate, limit contact with others, and seek advice by telephone from a health care provider or their local health department to determine whether medical evaluation is needed.
  • Stay at home. This action is further defined as to how an individual will be monitored:
  • Self-monitoring means people should monitor themselves for fever by taking their temperature twice a day and remain alert for cough or difficulty breathing. If they feel feverish or develop measured fever, cough, or difficulty breathing during the self-monitoring period, they should self-isolate, limit contact with others, and seek advice by telephone from a health care provider or their local health department to determine whether medical evaluation is needed.
  • Self-monitoring with delegated supervision means, for certain occupational groups (e.g., some health care or laboratory personnel, airline crew members), self-monitoring with oversight by the appropriate occupational health or infection control program in coordination with the health department of jurisdiction. The occupational health or infection control personnel for the employing organization should establish points of contact between the organization, the self-monitoring personnel, and the local or state health departments with jurisdiction for the location where personnel will be during the self-monitoring period. This communication should result in agreement on a plan for medical evaluation of personnel who develop fever, cough, or difficulty breathing during the self-monitoring period. The plan should include instructions for notifying occupational health and the local public health authority, and transportation arrangements to a pre-designated hospital, if medically necessary, with advance notice if fever, cough, or difficulty breathing occur. The supervising organization should remain in contact with personnel through the self-monitoring period to oversee self-monitoring activities.
  • Self-monitoring with public health supervision means public health authorities assume the responsibility for oversight of self-monitoring for certain groups of people. The ability of jurisdictions to initiate or provide continued oversight will depend on other competing priorities (e.g., contact tracing, implementation of community mitigation strategies). Depending on local priorities, CDC recommends that health departments consider establishing initial communication with these people, provide a plan for self-monitoring and clear instructions for notifying the health department before the person seeks health care if they develop fever, cough, or difficulty breathing. As resources allow, health authorities may also check in intermittently with these people over the course of the self-monitoring period. If travelers for whom public health supervision is recommended are identified at a U.S. port of entry, CDC will notify state and territorial health departments with jurisdiction for the travelers’ final destinations.
  • Active monitoring means that the state or local public health authority assumes responsibility for establishing regular communication with potentially exposed people to assess for the presence of fever, cough, or difficulty breathing. For people with high-risk exposures, CDC recommends this communication occurs at least once each day. The mode of communication can be determined by the state or local public health authority and may include telephone calls or any electronic or internet-based means of communication.

As a health practitioner or a beneficiary, it’s important to take appropriate steps to protect yourself, your family, and your co-workers. Knowing the difference between isolation, quarantine, and different forms of monitoring can help to stem the spread of any form of infectious disease.

The most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19 can be found on the CDC website.

You also may be interested in...

From the front lines to the home front, Military Medicine is always ready

Article
4/1/2020
Army Lt. Gen. Ron Place and two soldiers stand at a table with COVID-19 testing supplies

Military medicine is providing assistance in unprecedented ways

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Exemption - Stop Movement for Travel for DoD Components in Response to COVID-19

Publication
4/1/2020

DoD personnel supporting presidential support duties are exempt from the "Stop Movement for Travel" directive

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Medical Screening Appointments for Presidential Support Duty Applicants During COVID-19

Publication
4/1/2020

The Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs requires Department of Defense (DoD) medical providers to medically screen Service members applying for Presidential Support Duty (PSD).

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Coping with the stress of social distancing

Article
3/31/2020
Image of person alone in room

How to navigate the COVID-19 outbreak

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Mental Health Care | Mental Wellness

Pharmacy Guidance for Market MTFs

Publication
3/31/2020

Message to Pharmacy Beneficiaries regarding military pharmacy services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Pharmacy Division | TRICARE Health Program

Tiered Telehealth Health Care Support for COVID-19

Publication
3/31/2020

This memorandum establishes guidance for the use of Telehealth (TH) Information Technology (IT) tools in support of the clinical care required for patients across the spectrum of COVID-19 illness

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program | Public Health | Coronavirus

Possible changes at MTF pharmacies in response to COVID-19

Article
3/31/2020
A military pharmacist choosing medication from a shelf

Find out the latest pharmacy policies at MTFs

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Public Health | TRICARE Health Program

Meeting Italian COVID-19 requirements, Army reopens dining facility

Article
3/31/2020
Picture of chef preparing food

The dining facility is fully operational, even providing food deliveries to people in quarantine

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Public Health

MHS Minute Combatting COVID 19

Video
3/30/2020
The MHS Minute, Special Edition: COVID-19

Agencies across the federal government are partnering up to combat COVID-19. Find out how the Military Health System is doing its part to support the U.S. response to this pandemic, while ensuring our Service members remain ready.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Policy Exception for Telehealth Use for ABA during COVID-19 Pandemic

Publication
3/30/2020

Communication to ABA Providers Regarding Temporary Authorization to Utilize Telehealth for CPT Code 97156 During the COVID-19 National Emergency

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Autism Care Demonstration | TRICARE Health Program

Q & A: Policy Exception for Telehealth Use for ABA during COVID-19 Pandemic

Publication
3/30/2020

Question and Answer: TRICARE Autism Care Demonstration (ACD): Regarding Temporary Authorization to Utilize Telehealth for CPT Code 97156 during the COVID-19 National Emergency

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Autism Care Demonstration | TRICARE Health Program

Defense Health Agency takes action against COVID-19

Article
3/30/2020
Image of medical worker  putting on gloves and a mask

From call centers to hospital reform, the Defense Health Agency is working quickly to keep citizens safe from the novel coronavirus

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

USNS Comfort to join New York's COVID-19 fight

Article
3/30/2020
Reservists in camouflage uniforms stand in line to check in

The Comfort is 70,000-ton message of hope and solidarity to the people of New York, said Trump

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

MSMR Vol. 27 No. 3 - March 2020

Report
3/30/2020

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Update: Sexually transmitted infections, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2011–2019; Incidence of sexually transmitted infections before and after insertion of an intrauterine device or contraceptive implant, active component service women, U.S. Armed Forces, 2014–2019; Blood lead level surveillance among pediatric beneficiaries in the Military Health System, 2010–2017

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

200 new doctors, nurses to join military medical ranks early

Article
3/27/2020
Military medical professionals take their oath at their graduation from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences during a ceremony in Washington, May 18, 2019. More than 200 USU military medical students and graduate nursing students will be graduating early in 2020 to support their colleagues in the U.S. military health system amid the global coronavirus pandemic. (DoD file photo)

Military medical students will be graduating early to support the Military Health System amid the coronavirus pandemic

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 26

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing | Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.