This informational document is intended to provide guidance to individuals who have been exposed or have a mild or suspected case of COVID-19. This is not intended for individuals who need to be hospitalized and cannot receive care at home. This document also contains information for household contacts (i.e., family members, roommates, intimate partners, and caregivers) of these individuals.
Isolation and quarantine are both ways to limit interaction with others and prevent the spread of disease.
The below information is for individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 or who have symptoms of COVID-19.
Follow the steps below to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:
- Stay home except to get medical care
- Take care of yourself by getting rest and staying hydrated
- Over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen, may help you feel better
- Avoid public areas, including work and school
- Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis
- Stay in touch with your healthcare provider
- Separate yourself from other people
- Stay in a separate room and away from other people and pets in your home
- If possible, use a separate bathroom
- If you need to be around other people or animals, wear a cloth face covering
- Cover your nose and mouth
- If you are sick, wear a face covering when you are around other people or pets
- Use a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and throw away used tissues in a lined trash can
- Clean your hands often
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after being in a public place, blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, going to the bathroom, or before eating or preparing food
- If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth, and other people with unwashed hands
- Do not share
- Do not share dishes, cups/glasses, eating utensils, towels, bedding, or electronics with other people
- After using personal items, they should be washed thoroughly with soap and water or put in the dishwasher
- Clean all “high-touch” surfaces everyday
- Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces in your separate “sick room” and bathroom
- If possible, wear disposable gloves while cleaning
- Someone else should clean and disinfect surfaces in common areas
- If a caregiver or someone else needs to clean and disinfect, it should be done on an as-needed basis
- Caregivers should wear a face covering and disposable gloves
- Clean and disinfect areas that might have blood, stool, or bodily fluids on them
- Monitor your symptoms
- Seek medical attention immediately if your symptoms get worse, especially if you experience any of the following:
- Severe trouble breathing (such as being unable to talk without gasping for air)
- Continuous pain or pressure in your chest
- Feeling confused or having difficulty waking up
- Blue-colored lips or face
- Any other emergency signs or symptoms
- If you seek medical attention, be sure to call ahead before visiting the facility. This will help the facility keep other people from possibly getting infected or exposed.
- Tell any healthcare provider that you may have COVID-19
- Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis
- Put on a face covering before you enter any healthcare facility
Individuals with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should remain under home isolation until the risk of spreading the disease to others is low. The decision to stop home isolation should be made in consultation with your healthcare provider and state and local health departments. You may be able to discontinue home isolation based on the following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
Did you have symptoms?
You may discontinue home isolation after ALL of the following have occurred:
*Loss of taste or smell may last for weeks or months and should not delay ending isolation
Please note that people who had severe illness from COVID-19 or people with a weakened immune system due to a health condition or medication may need to isolate longer than 10 days or may require testing to determine when they can be around others. Talk with your healthcare provider to determine when you can discontinue home isolation.
These recommendations should not be used as guidance about when to return to work after home isolation. The decision about when to return to work should be determined by you and your employer based on a number of factors. Please contact your employer for further information.
The below information is for individuals without symptoms, who have not been tested for COVID-19, but may have been exposed.
If you have been potentially exposed to COVID-19, you should self-quarantine by staying home and limiting interaction with others for 14 days after your last close contact with that person. You do not need to quarantine if you have had COVID-19 within the last 3 months, have recovered, and do not have symptoms.
It is important to follow quarantine guidelines in case you have the virus and can spread it to others. During this time period, you should monitor your symptoms closely to see if you get sick. The CDC has provided a 14-day temperature and symptom log that can be used to monitor your symptoms. Contact your healthcare provider right away if you develop symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 (such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath). If, after this period, you have still not developed any symptoms you may be able to discontinue quarantine.
Your quarantine period begins from the last close contact you had with someone who has COVID-19, even if you test negative for COVID-19 or feel healthy. The following scenarios can help you determine when you should end your quarantine:
- If you will not have further contact or interactions with the person who has COVID-19 while they’re sick then your last day of quarantine is 14 days from the date you had close contact.
- If you live with the person who has COVID-19 (e.g., roommate, partner, family member), and if they’ve isolated by staying in a separate bedroom and you’ve had no close contact with them since they isolated, your last day of quarantine is 14 days from when the person began home isolation.
- If you live with the person who has COVID-19 (e.g., roommate, partner, family member) and already started your 14-day quarantine period but end up having close contact with them again during your quarantine period, or if another household member gets sick with COVID-19, you will have to restart your quarantine from the last day you had close contact with anyone in your house who has COVID-19. Any time a new household member gets sick with COVID-19 and you have close contact with that person, you will need to restart your quarantine period.
- If you live in a household where you cannot avoid close contact with the person who has COVID-19 or are providing direct care to a person who is sick, don’t have a separate bedroom to isolate that person, or live in close quarters where you are unable to keep a physical distance of six feet, you should avoid contact with others outside the home while the person is sick and quarantine for 14 days after the person meets the criteria to end home isolation.
For additional questions about when to start or stop quarantine, be sure to contact your healthcare provider.
Information for household contacts
The below information is for individuals who live with a person who: has been exposed or tested positive for COVID-19. This includes:
Any individual that may have close contact with a person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should follow the precautions recommended by the CDC:
- Continue to practice everyday preventive actions.
- Keep the sick or exposed person in a separate room from others in the household.
- If you are caring for a sick household member, follow recommended precautions and monitor your own health.
- Keep surfaces disinfected.
- Avoid sharing personal items.
- If you become sick, stay in contact with others by phone or email.
- Stay informed about the local outbreak situation.
- Notify your work if your schedule needs to change.
- Take care of the emotional health of your household members, including yourself.
Discuss any additional questions with your healthcare provider or a local / state health department official.