Quarantine or other measures
Isolation means that a person is placed in a separate room to prevent the spread of infection. The same applies to self-isolation, only the term isolation is used for sick people, and self-isolation or home quarantine for healthy people. Isolation is a measure of separating a person from other people, used for treating the ones who are ill and have symptoms of the disease, in this case symptoms of an acute respiratory infection (fever, cough, shortness of breath...) with fulfilled epidemiological criteria (stay in countries affected by the outbreak or close contact with the person who is a probable or confirmed case of the disease).
Self-isolation is a special measure that is implemented by decision of the Minister of Health. It is used for healthy persons (without symptoms) who have been in close contact with an infected person or have travelled or lived in high-risk areas during the last 14 days.
The basic rule is to stay at home (in home quarantine, foreign citizens in an organized quarantine) and avoid physical contact with other people. The duration of health surveillance regarding self-isolation is 14 days, because the incubation period of COVID-19 disease (from infection to the onset of symptoms) can last from 2 to 14 days.
There are three case scenarios and each requires a different form of intervention:
1. People who have mild respiratory symptoms (cough, sore throat, fever) remain in self-isolation as recommended by the family physician. For the safety of other household members, they need to follow self-isolation instructions.
2. People who have respiratory infection symptoms, were exposed to the virus and have a positive laboratory test on SARS-CoV-2 infection are strictly prescribed self-isolation, following self-isolation instructions issued by the Croatian Institute of Public Health. Self-isolation lasts 14 days. During this period, the person should stay at home and avoid physical contact with other people. Also, they are obliged to report daily to the epidemiologist.
3. People with severe acute respiratory infection require hospitalization. They will be isolated in a special hospital ward. The hospital has its own protocol regarding self-isolating infected patients.