COVID-19: You’ve had a close contact or positive test. Now what?
January 27, 2022
COVID-19: You’ve had a close contact or positive test. Now what?

    What's the difference between quarantine and isolation? When do you need to do each and for how long? Here's a snapshot of the CDC's updated guidance.

    If you’ve had close contact and are NOT up-to-date on your COVID-19 vaccines

    • Quarantine at home for at least 5 full days.
    • Wear a mask if you must be around others in your home.
    • Get tested at least 5 days after your last close contact, even if you do not develop symptoms.
    • Monitor for symptoms for 10 days following your last close contact.
    • If you develop symptoms, get tested and isolate until you receive the results. Wear a mask if you need to be around others in your home.

    If you’ve had close contact and ARE up-to-date on your COVID-19 vaccines

    • If you do not have symptoms, you do not need to quarantine.
    • Get tested at least 5 days after your last close contact, even if you do not develop symptoms.
    • Monitor for symptoms for 10 days following your last close contact.
    • If you develop symptoms, get tested and isolate until you receive the results. Wear a mask if you need to be around others in your home.

    If you’ve had close contact with someone who has COVID-19 and you’ve had a confirmed case of COVID-19 (via testing) within the past 90 days

    • If you do not have symptoms, you do not need to quarantine at home.
    • Monitor for symptoms for 10 days following your last close contact.
    • If you develop symptoms, get tested and isolate until you receive the results. Wear a mask if you need to be around others in your home.

    If you tested positive or have COVID-19 symptoms (regardless of vaccination status)

    • Stay home and isolate from others in your home for 5 days.
    • Wear a mask if you must be around others in your home.
    • If you had symptoms, you can end isolation after 5 full days if you have been fever-free for 24 hours and other symptoms are improving.
    • If you did not have symptoms, you can end isolation 5 full days after your positive test.
    • If you were severely ill with COVID-19, isolate for at least 10 full days. Contact your doctor for guidance on safely ending isolation.

    In all cases, be sure to take precautions for 10 days

    • Wear a mask when around others.
    • Do not travel.
    • Avoid being with people who are at high risk.

    What does it mean to quarantine?

    • Stay home except for medical care. Don’t go to work, school or public areas. If possible, stay away from others, especially people who are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19. 
    • When calculating quarantine, the day of your exposure is day 0. Day 1 is the first full day after your last contact with the person who has COVID-19.

    What does it mean to isolate?

    • Stay home except for medical care. Don’t go to work, school or public areas. As much as possible, stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home, especially people who are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19. Use a separate bathroom, if you can.
    • When calculating isolation, your first day of symptoms or a positive test is day 0. Day 1 is the first full day after symptoms began or the test was conducted.

    Other important COVID-19 information to help determine when you need to quarantine or isolate

    • Close contact is determined as being less than 6 feet away from an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more within a 24-hour period (can be smaller periods of time that add up to 15 minutes).
    • Being up to date on COVID-19 vaccines is defined as having received all the recommended vaccines, including booster doses, when eligible.
    • Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, chills, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, cough, difficulty breathing, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell, or new onset poor feeding or poor appetite.
    • Fever-free means a temperature of less than 100.4°F without acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
    • A well-fitting mask is one that completely covers the nose and mouth, fits snugly against the sides of the face without gaps and has a nose wire to prevent air leakage at the top.

    Access all our COVID resources and information.

    Download a printable quarantine and isolation resource.

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