COVID-19 Quarantine and Isolation Guidance

Adapted from CDC Guidance 7/29/21

Quarantine

Quarantine - separating yourself from others after you have been exposed to the virus.

  • Quarantine is recommended if you are not vaccinated and have been in close contact (within 6 feet of someone for 15 minutes or more) with someone who has COVID-19.
  • No quarantine after exposure is necessary if:
    1. You are fully vaccinated. 
    • You should get tested 3-5 days after exposure, even if you don’t have symptoms
    • You should wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days following exposure or until your test result is negative.  
  1. You had COVID-19 within the previous 3 months and have recovered and remain without COVID-19 symptoms (for example, cough, shortness of breath)

What to do

  • Stay home for 14 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19.  You may be able to shorten your quarantine.  See details in section below.
  • Watch for fever (100.4ᵒF), cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19. If you have symptoms, immediately self-isolate and contact your healthcare provider
  • If possible, stay away from people you live with, especially people who are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19.

You may be able to shorten your quarantine

A 14-day quarantine remains the CDC’s recommendation for the greatest protection against spreading the virus that causes COVID-19.  However, a shortened quarantine may be acceptable in certain situations.  Talk with your healthcare provider or public health department about your exposure. Options they will consider include stopping quarantine:

  • After day 10 without testing
  • After day 7 after receiving a negative test result (test must occur on day 5 or later)

Isolation

Isolation - when you have been infected with the virus, even if you don’t have symptoms.

Isolation is used to separate people infected with COVID-19 from those who are not infected. People who are in isolation should stay home until it’s safe for them to be around others (see details below).  

What to do

  • Monitor your symptoms. If you have an emergency warning sign (including trouble breathing), seek emergency medical care immediately.
  • Stay in a separate room from other household members, if possible.
  • Use a separate bathroom, if possible.
  • Avoid contact with other members of the household and pets.
  • Don’t share personal household items, like cups, towels, and utensils.
  • Wear a mask when around other people if able.
  • You can be around others after:
    • 10 days since symptoms first appeared and
    • 24 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
    • Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving*

*Loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation


Note that these recommendations do not apply to people with severe COVID-19 or with weakened immune systems (immunocompromised).

I tested positive for COVID-19 but had no symptoms

If you continue to have no symptoms, you can be with others after 10 days have passed since you had a positive viral test for COVID-19.  If you develop symptoms after testing positive, follow the guidance above.