If you are potentially exposed to COVID-19, separating yourself from others helps to minimize the risk of transmitting the disease to other people. If symptoms develop, all people – regardless of vaccination status – should isolate and be clinically tested for COVID-19.
- Can refrain from quarantine and testing following a known exposure so long as you have no symptoms, but need to monitor for symptoms for the full 14 days
- If you are a resident or employee of a correctional or detention facility or a homeless shelter, you will need to quarantine even if you are fully vaccinated
- Should continue to get tested and isolate if you experience COVID-19 symptoms
- Need to follow CDC and health department travel requirements and recommendations, which are less stringent than for unvaccinated people
- Should quarantine for 14 days when you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 or someone who likely has COVID-19
- May end quarantine after 10 days if you remain asymptomatic
- Must continue to monitor for symptoms for the full 14 days
- Should consider a 14-day quarantine, still recommended as the safest option
- If symptoms occur within 14 days of an exposure, you should seek testing and isolate (instructions below) while awaiting results
- Need to isolate for at least 10 days after you get sick and until 24 hours after fever is gone and symptoms (cough, shortness of breath and diarrhea) are improving
- Can end isolation when you have gone for 24 hours with no fever, without taking fever-reducing medicines like aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen, and your other symptoms are improving (not including loss of taste or smell, as some may experience this weeks or months after recovery)
- Should isolate from others even if you have no symptoms, to prevent spread
- If you remain asymptomatic, you can end your isolation 10 days after your positive test
- If you develop symptoms at any point, you need to restart your 10-day isolation and follow the guidelines for symptomatic individuals
- Should isolate for at least 20 days if suffering from severe to critical illness related to COVID-19, if hospitalized for COVID-19 or if you have a severely compromised immune system
- Need to stay in close communication with local or state public health authorities and cooperate with public health recommendations
Do you have an isolation plan if you or someone in your household becomes sick? Isolation can be daunting for someone who’s just tested positive for COVID-19; planning ahead may help reduce the anxiety of this stressful situation.
If someone is ill or told to isolate themselves, the first step is to move them away from the other members of your household. A spare bedroom with an attached bathroom is the best option, but if this is not a possibility, any bedroom will work. During isolation, the isolated individual should not be permitted to leave their room and no one else should enter their room.
You may find the following items helpful if someone in your home is in isolation:
- Paper towels
- Cleaning supplies
- Face masks
- Hand sanitizer
- Cough drops
- Feminine hygiene products (if needed)
- Personal medications
- A logbook for symptoms
Designate one family member to care for the sick person. Anybody entering or leaving the sick person’s room should wear a mask.
Remember, the infected person should have no visitors.
Continue good hygiene practices such as:
- Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds
- Avoid touching your face
- Disinfect high-touch items such as doorknobs, phones, game controllers, etc.
- Avoid sharing personal items such as bedding, towels or dishes
- Open windows to increase ventilation
What is the difference between quarantine and isolation?
- Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick.
- Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.
Identifying Close Contacts
A close contact is anyone who was within 6 feet of a confirmed or presumptive COVID-19 case for15 or more minutes in a 24-hour period during the case’s infectious period. The 15 minutes are cumulative, and do not have to be consecutive. Anyone who may have had direct contact with infectious secretions (e.g., being coughed on) of a confirmed of presumptive COVID-19 case is also considered a close contact. Individuals do not need to quarantine if they were within close contact of someone who was in close contact to a COVID-19 case.