• Living in close quarters with a coronavirus patient can be unnerving given that the virus can be transmitted easily.
  • There are a few basic safety measures to be aware of if you find yourself living in an apartment or house with someone who has the coronavirus.
  • The number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. surpassed 5 million earlier this week.

Despite the fact that the baseline symptoms of the coronavirus are similar to what you would see with the flu, we’ve known for some time that COVID-19 is a particularly nasty and aggressive virus that can leave victims hooked up to ventilators and struggling to stay alive. We also know that the coronavirus, though categorized as a respiratory illness, also has the ability to attack all of a victim’s major organs and, in turn, cause a myriad of complicated health issues in the process.

Still, not everyone who contracts the coronavirus experiences symptoms that warrant a trip to the hospital. If anything, most people with the coronavirus — especially younger individuals — do not exhibit severe symptoms at all. This tends to raise an interesting issue that isn’t often discussed: What steps should be taken if you find yourself living with a roommate or family member who tested positive for the coronavirus?

The issue has taken on greater significance in recent weeks as studies have started to show that the coronavirus is more capable of spreading through the air than initially thought. Indeed, the World Health Organization acknowledged this very fact a few weeks ago.

Suffice it to say, living in close quarters with someone who has the coronavirus can certainly be unnerving. Still, there are some basic precautions that can severely reduce the odds that someone with a positive coronavirus diagnosis will transmit it to other members of a house or apartment.

As noted by The Conversation, one of the key things to do in such a situation is to ensure that the individual with the coronavirus has their own room to lessen interactions with others. And assuming that an isolated room isn’t available, the individual should lay up in a place as far removed from others as possible. It’s also ideal for a COVID-19 positive patient to have their own bathroom. Naturally, elderly or otherwise immunocompromised individuals should try and keep as much distance between themselves and the patient as possible.

It’s also important to improve ventilation as much as possible. To this point, the National Center for Biotechnology Information writes:

Opening windows and doors maximizes natural ventilation so that the risk of airborne contagion is much lower than with costly, maintenance-requiring mechanical ventilation systems. Old-fashioned clinical areas with high ceilings and large windows provide greatest protection.

Meanwhile, everyone in an impacted living situation should make sure to wear a mask when close to the COVID patient. The patient themselves should wear a mask for as much of the day as possible. It’s also important to practice good hand hygiene, which is to say you should wash your hands thoroughly and frequently.

Individuals in a household with a COVID positive patient should also make a point of ensuring that everyday items — such as dishes, towels, cups, phones — are not shared.

The report adds:

Handle used linen and clothing carefully to avoid the possibility of shaking virus particles into the air. In hospital settings, nurses make beds without flapping the sheets around to minimise the transfer of pathogens.

Put used linen directly into the washing machine and wash and dry it at the highest possible temperature setting. If you don’t have a clothes dryer, hang laundry in the sun. Evidence suggests sunlight can inactivate viruses.

Beyond that, cleaning with a proper disinfectant should occur routinely.

As it stands now, the total number of coronavirus cases in the United States surpassed 5 million earlier this week. Looking ahead, there’s a very real fear that we might see another spike in new cases once kids start returning to school this fall.

A life long Mac user and Apple enthusiast, Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 6 years. His writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and most recently, TUAW. When not writing about and analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions, the most recent examples being The Walking Dead and Broad City.