How long do I need to self-isolate to avoid any risk of spreading COVID

I’m making plans to visit with my two adult children in a couple of weeks. We cancelled a trip to Yosemite as way too risky; we’ll be staying in a condo on the southern Oregon coast instead. Masks will be worn in public; won’t be in any indoor bars, restaurants, etc; they’ve been good about maintaining social distance themselves. But by letting them into my bubble, I know there is at least some small risk that they’ll bring the virus up from California.
My wife really doesn’t want to take any risk of getting exposed, so she’s skipping this trip and I’m going to stay there for a while after the kids have left before I come home. Questions: what’s the latest on how long to self-isolate after you’ve potentially been exposed? I’ve heard both 10 days and 14 days mentioned. Also, what day should I start counting from? Can I assume that any potential exposure will have occurred on the first day there, or do I have to wait until the day they leave?

It’s all about the virus load so no, if you want to be really sure you need to count your quarantine from the last day and 14 days ensures safety. Also, please don’t be in contact with anyone on your way home. And during your visit, make sure to maximize air flow to keep any potential virus buildup in the air to a minimum. Windows open, eat outdoors whenever possible, prioritize outdoor activities over indoor ones, etc. You might have great weather that makes this easy, or you could get the start of the rainy season, October in Oregon is weird like that.

How do you (OP) intend to get from wherever home is to & from the condo in OR? And what do you do in public during a normal week at home?

You can be all safe and super-hermetic about this trip, but if you go to the store in your hometown the morning after you get back you could catch it then.

Bottom line, I’m not sure you’re prioritizing your real risks correctly versus fixating on the novel risk of travel and extended family and ignoring the familiar risk of whatever you do every day at home. Maybe you’ve got all this figured out rightly, but maybe not. Do tell.

Home is Ashland; it’s a 3-hour drive from there to our condo in Brookings. Travel exposure isn’t a concern. At home, we’re practically hermits and are very careful about masks & distance on the rare outing. This visit will definitely be the biggest breach of our household bubble since February, hence the caution.

I was thinking of virus exposure as more of a yes/no question, rather than a cumulative load. So, the extra caution makes sense. Thanks for the input!

Here in the UK, we are told 14 days - I recently had to quarantine for 14 days (by law) after coming home from a trip to France.

14 days after contact with an unknown source at an unknown time. If it’s just your kids, you can start your quarantine from the day you meet them.

14 days is actually sort of arbitrary: The number of people detected sick after 14 days is so small it doesn’t matter even in a population of millions.

But the chance that you, individually, will get sick more than 10 days after being exposed is small.

On the other hand, the chance that your wife will be angry with you if you infect her is very large. So, just like population epidemiologists, you have balance the risks and the penalties :slight_smile:

Of course, if you actually get sick, then you only have to quarantine until you get better. That’s an arbitrary 10 days after you get sick, but really it’s 2 or 3 days after you’re sure that you actually are better – which is typically something like 10 days.

The simplest thing might be just to have your kids tested before and after. That way, even if they are incubating when you first get there, they will be sick enough to test positive by the second test.