The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines recommend considering different factors when deciding to stop isolation or quarantine:
- Those who have been infected with COVID-19 should isolate. They may be able to stop isolating once symptoms have improved, and it has been at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared. Some symptoms such as loss of taste or smell may last for weeks or months and should not delay ending isolation. Those who have never had symptoms may be able to stop isolating 10 days after testing. However, those who had severe illness from COVID-19, or people with a weakened immune system, may need to isolate longer than 10 days or may require testing to determine when they can be around others.
- Those who have been possibly exposed to COVID-19 should quarantine. They may be able to stop quarantining if they don’t develop symptoms, and it has been at least 14 days after possible exposure. Although 14 days is recommended, the CDC suggests that some individuals may be able to quarantine for a shorter period of time. Individuals without symptoms can end quarantine at day 10 without testing, or at day 7 if they receive a negative test result on day 5 or later. The length of time to quarantine may be decided by your state or local department of health. You should adhere to recommendations set forth by the department of health, as they may differ from the CDC’s guidelines. Those who’ve been possibly exposed to COVID-19 but have already had COVID-19 in the last three months, recovered, and don’t have symptoms, don’t need to quarantine. Additionally, you don’t need to quarantine if you have been vaccinated, it’s been two weeks since your last dose, and you don’t have symptoms. However, you should get tested within 3-5 days of exposure and wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days after exposure or until you receive a negative test result.
Please note that it’s possible for a person diagnosed with COVID-19 to stop isolation before someone possibly exposed can stop quarantining.