Quarantine and Isolation

Updated Isolation and Quarantine Guidance - Jan. 7, 2022

Oregon Health Authority and Clackamas County are adopting the CDC’s new guidance and updating isolation and quarantine guidance accordingly.

The new recommendations for isolation and quarantine balances the societal impact (e.g., critical infrastructure and staffing shortages) with what is known about disease severity and when and for how long a person is maximally infectious.

  • These updated guidelines are for the general public and will apply to K-12 school settings
  • Healthcare workers have specific guidance
  • We are still working on specific guidance for other high-risk populations and locations such as care facilities and congregate living facilities

Please refer to the following guidelines for quarantine and isolation and remember that the safest thing to do to limit COVID-19 spread is to adhere to old guidelines: 10-day quarantine or isolation.  But this may not always be feasible, and the science supports that people are most infectious in the 1–2 days before and 2–3 days after symptoms.

If you test positive for COVID-19 or show symptoms (Isolate)

Regardless of vaccination status:

  • Stay home and away from others for a minimum of 5 days
  • If you have had no symptoms, or mild symptoms that have resolved after 5 days, you may leave the house if you wear a mask while around others for another 5 days.

Testing before ending isolation (test on day 5):

  • Positive: Continue isolation until 10 days after symptoms started
  • Negative: End isolation and wear a mask around others until day 10

If you were exposed to someone with COVID-19 (Quarantine)

Unvaccinated or not yet boosted:

  • Stay home and away from others for a minimum of 5 days.
  • Then consistently and dilligently wear a well-fitting mask around others for 5 more days.

Received booster shot or vaccinated primary series and not yet eligible for a booster:

  • Do not need to quarantine
  • Wear mask around others for 10 days

Both groups should test on day 5, if possible.

If you have access to testing and would like to test before ending isolation, the test should be administered at day 5.

Frequently Asked Questions

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No. It is recommended, but test availability is extremely limited at this time. If an infected person has access to testing and wants to get tested, the best method would be to use an antigen test toward the end of their five-day isolation period. If the test is positive, isolated people are advised to continue their isolation until 10 days after their symptoms started. If the test is negative, isolated people can end their isolation but are advised to wear a mask around other people until day 10. Please do not use the emergency room solely to obtain a test if you are not needing urgent medical care.

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Yes. The recommendations on quarantine and isolation in the new guidance do apply to K-12 school settings. Test-to-stay programs are also still in place in many schools to further limit quarantine needs.

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No. This guidance applies to the general population in the community setting and does not replace existing guidance for healthcare personnel in healthcare settings.

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No. People ages 5–15 years who have completed a Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination series, or others who are not currently eligible for a booster but have completed a Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, or Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccination series are included in the group of people who do not need to quarantine after coming into close contact with someone with COVID-19.

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No. Adolescents ages 12-17 years who have completed a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccination but have not received a booster dose do not need to quarantine after coming into close contact with someone with COVID-19.

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  • Children < 2 years of age, or other individuals who are unable to wear a mask.
  • People who cannot wear a mask, including children < 2 years of age and people of any age with certain disabilities, should isolate (if infected) and quarantine (if exposed) for 10 days.
  • People who have moderate illness — people who have moderate COVID-19 illness and symptoms lasting longer than 5 days should isolate until at least 24 hours have passed without fever and no use of fever-reducing medications, and other symptoms improved.
  • People with severe COVID-19 illness (e.g., requiring hospitalization, intensive care, or ventilation support) should isolate for at least 10 days and may need to isolate longer after symptom onset. They should consult with their healthcare provider to determine the appropriate duration of isolation.
  • People who are immunocompromised -—this guidance is not intended for people who are immunocompromised who might have a longer infectious period.
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No. After your 5 days of quarantine or isolation end, you should continue to wear a well-fitting mask when around others at home and in public for another 5 days. After the 10 days, you should continue to masks in public indoor settings per Oregon’s indoor mask mandate and at work per your employer’s guidance.

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Strategies include the following: get vaccinated, get boosted, wear a well-fitting mask in public indoor settings, stay at home if you are sick, thoroughly wash hands, maintain physical distancing, sanitize high-touch surfaces, and consider all risks before you gather. Vaccination is the most effective, safest way to prevent illness.

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Data consistently show that people who have received all recommended vaccines, including booster doses, have the highest level of protection against COVID-19 from Omicron. There is evidence that immunity declines somewhat several months after the primary series, but the booster dose increases your body’s response significantly. Given the increased protection against Omicron infection following a booster dose, those who have received a booster dose are at lower risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and at lower risk of spreading to others after coming into close contact with someone with COVID-19.

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Isolation Preparedness

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:

  • Detergent
  • Paper towels
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Face masks
  • Gloves
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Cough drops
  • Acetaminophen
  • Thermometer
  • Toiletries
  • 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

CDC guidelines: When You Can be Around Others After You Had or Likely Had COVID-19

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. 

Close Contact info
After You Get Tested Booklet

After You Get Tested Booklet

"COVID-19: After You Get Tested" provides a wealth of information about what to do if you have received a positive test result or are waiting for your results.

Office Hours:

Clackamas County Call Center
503-655-8224
Monday to Friday
8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Vaccine questions?
COVIDVaccine@clackamas.us

Regional Information
2-1-1

Clackamas County Crisis and Support Line
503-655-8585

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1-800-273-TALK