Home Guidance

Home Guidance

The CDC has a helpful Prevent Getting Sick webpage→ to help individuals and families be safe and healthy while at home. Make sure you have the necessary food, drinks, medications and pet supplies you need, but please do not buy more than you reasonably need.

Drug and chemical safety recommendations:

  • Read all warning labels and follow directions on the label before using medications or products that may be poisonous.
  • Teach children about drug and chemical safety.
  • Store drugs and chemicals safely away and out of children’s reach.
  • Call Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222 right away for any kind of poisoning.
  • CDC Home and Recreational Safety Poisoning Prevention→

Firearm safety recommendations:

Support for victims and survivors of domestic violence: 

Oregon Domestic Violence Victim Services→

Wondering about your pets? Visit CDC If You Have Animals page→ for more information.

The following guidance is for individuals (and their caregivers) with mild symptoms who do not need hospitalization or were recently released from hospital care.

Monitor your symptoms

Seek prompt medical attention if your illness gets worse (e.g., difficulty breathing). Before seeking care, call your health care provider and tell them that you have, or are being evaluated for, COVID-19. If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the 911 operator that you have, or are being evaluated for COVID-19. If possible, put on a facemask before emergency medical services arrive.

Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home

  • You should stay in a well-ventilated, single room, away from other household contacts.
  • If a separate space is not available, keep a distance of at least six feet from people who are well. Sleep in separate beds.
  • You should wear a facemask when you are in the same room as other people. If you are unable to wear a mask, then people who enter your room should wear one.
  • Limit your movement outside of your room and in shared spaces.
  • Shared spaces, such as the kitchen and bathroom, should be well ventilated and windows kept open if possible.
  • Do not share dishes, drinking glasses, eating utensils, towels or bedding with other people or pets in your home. After using these items, wash thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Do not handle pets or other animals while sick.

Preventing new cases of illness

  • Wash hands with warm water and soap often for 20-30 seconds with soap and water. Always wash your hands before preparing food, before eating and after using the toilet. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Cough or sneeze into your sleeve or a tissue, not into your bare hand.
  • Use paper towels for drying hands instead of cloth towels if possible. If cloth towels are used, do not share with others in the home. Replace wet towels with clean dry towels.
  • Do not allow anyone to visit until you are free of all signs and symptoms of illness or are cleared medically.
  • Clean all frequently touched surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables. Also, clean any surfaces that may have blood, stool or body fluids on them. Use a household cleaning spray or disinfecting wipes. Bathroom and toilet surfaces should be cleaned daily with household cleaner and then with a bleach disinfectant.

Caring for the sick person

  • Limit the number of caregivers. Choose one person, in good health, to look after the needs of the person who is ill.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water immediately after any contact with the ill individual or their immediate environment. 
  • To prevent droplet spread, the ill person should wear a mask when they are around other people. If they are unable to wear a mask, the caregiver should wear one when in the same room.
  • Sneezing and coughing should be covered with a disposable paper tissue.
  • Keep the ill person’s used linens and eating utensils separate. 
  • Put patient’s used clothes, linens and towels in a laundry bag. Do not shake dirty laundry. Protect skin and clothing from direct contact with soiled laundry.
  • Wash the patient’s clothes, sheets and towels with regular laundry detergent in a washing machine and dry completely.
  • Keep a trash bin with a lid in the patient’s room. Wear gloves and mask while disposing of the trash bag. Wash your hands immediately after.
  • Disposable masks, gloves and plastic aprons should be thrown away in the patient’s room. Clean hands before and after glove use.

Discontinuing home isolation

You can leave home after you have not had a fever or any other symptoms for at least 72 hours. This means three full days of no fever WITHOUT the use of medicine like Tylenol or ibuprofen that reduces fevers. You still must continue to follow Oregon's Stay Home, Save Lives→ executive order, which includes only going out for essential needs like groceries and medical care, and returning to work as determined by your employer.

Large or extended families living in the same home

Do you share your home with extended family or loved ones? Check out CDC Guidance for Large or Extended Families Living in the Same Household→

Do you live in close quarters? Check out CDC Households Living in Close Quarters→

Public Health Quick Links
General Information
Phone Numbers
503-397-7247 24-hour Reporting 503-397-7247
Fax: 888-204-8568
Emergencies: Dial 911
230 Strand St.
Columbia County Courthouse Annex
St. Helens,

Monday - Friday
8:30 a.m. to 4:30


Columbia County Public Health is committed to improving the quality of life and protecting the health and well-being of all residents by addressing social, economic, and environmental conditions. Our goal is to ensure that all people in Columbia County have the opportunity for a healthy life.