If you live in close quarters with multiple people, such as roommates in a small apartment, or a home with a large extended family, there are ways to help you protect the most vulnerable members in your household.

The key part to remember that if your household contains one or more vulnerable individuals, then everyone should act as if they, themselves, are at higher risk.

What steps can I, and my household, take to reduce our risk of getting COVID-19?
  • Practice everyday preventive actions to help reduce your risk of getting sick
  • Make sure everyone in your home is doing the same – especially children and those who are at risk
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Connect with others in a safe way
  • Limit trips out of the house.

– If you must leave the household, wear a mask, and stay at least 6 feet, or about two arms’ lengths, away from others.

  • Know what to do and who to contact if you get sick. Create a household plan of action:

– Talk with the people who need to be included in your plan, and discuss what to do if a COVID-19 outbreak occurs in your household

– Plan ways to care for those who might be at greater risk for serious complications.

– Get to know your neighbors and find out if your neighborhood has a website or social media page to stay connected.

– Create a list of local organizations that your household can contact if you need access to information, healthcare services, support, and resources.

– Create an emergency contact list of family, friends, neighbors, carpool drivers, health care providers, teachers, employers, the local public health department, and other community resources

If you need to share a room with someone who is sick:
  • Open a window, if possible.

– Do not open windows and doors if doing so poses a safety or health risk to household members (e.g., risk of falling or triggering asthma symptoms).

  • Maintain at least 6 feet between beds, if possible. If this isn’t possible, sleep head to toe.
  • Put a curtain around or place another physical divider (e.g., shower curtain, large cardboard poster board, quilt, or large bedspread) to separate the sick person’s bed.

If you need to share a bathroom with someone who is sick, the person who is sick should clean and disinfect the commonly touched surfaces in the bathroom after each use. If this is not possible, the person who does the cleaning should:

  • Open outside doors and windows before entering the bathroom, if possible. If you have one, turn on the bathroom ventilating fan.
  • Wait as long as possible before entering the room to clean and disinfect or to use the bathroom.
  • Ensure safe and correct use and storage of disinfectants, including storing products securely away from children.
  • Wear disposable gloves when cleaning and wash your hands immediately afterwards.
Can children spend time with older adults and/or people with chronic medical conditions?
  • If you live with elders or people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, such as diabetes or serious heart conditions, consider separating children from them if the children have frequent interactions with those outside the household (like at childcare or other settings)
  • Elders and people who have underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes or serious heart conditions, should avoid caring for the children in their household, if possible. If people at higher risk must care for the children in their household, the children in their care should not have contact with people outside the household. Members of the household who are at higher risk should also avoid caring for people of any age who are sick.
  • Consider postponing visits or trips to see older friends or family members with underlying medical conditions while there are high levels of transmission (or high number of COVID-19 cases) in your community
  • Take steps to help protect children from COVID-19 in order to reduce them spreading the virus.
Can children hang out with their friends?

Anyone meeting unsafely in groups can put everyone at risk. The key to slow the spread of COVID-19 is to practice social distancing. Children should not have in-person playdates with children from other households. If playing outside their own homes, it is essential that they remain 6 feet from anyone who is not in their own household.

Someone in my household has an underlying medical condition. What additional steps should we take?
  • Make sure they have access to 2 weeks of medications and supplies in case you need to stay home for prolonged periods.
  • If they receive any support care services in the home, such as services from personal care attendants, direct support professionals, or therapists, make plans for what to do if their direct care providers or anyone in the home gets sick.
  • For children, consider identifying potential alternative caregivers, in case their regular caregivers become sick and are unable to care for the children. If possible, these alternative caregivers should not be at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 themselves. Make sure these caregivers take extra precautions if any children have a disability.