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What does 'quarantine' actually mean when it comes to coronavirus? How would it impact your life?

It's very different from 'isolation.'

CLEVELAND — The word "quarantine" has become quite popular these last few weeks amid concerns of coronavirus across the country.

You've heard that people are being put under self-quarantine for 14 days to prevent future spread.

But what does it actually mean? If you were required to be quarantined, how would it impact your life?

Cuyahoga County Board of Health Commissioner Terry Allan offered an explanation in a press briefing Friday morning.

“Quarantine is for healthy people that may have been exposed to sick people," Allan said. "So the idea is if they’re quarantined for 14 days it can prevent the spread of illness should they have an onset of symptoms."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines "quarantine" as "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 exposed, to prevent the possible spread of the communicable disease."

The goal? Don't spread your germs elsewhere by staying at home. That doesn't mean you have to be stuck inside all day, though.

“I think you can walk in your back yard, walk outside and check out the weather," said Dr. Stephen Sroka from Case Western Reserve University.

If you live with other people in the same residence, everybody would need to be under the same quarantine, Dr. Sroka explained.

This is very different from "isolation."

The CDC addresses "isolation" as "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."

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