Isolation and Quarantine

Isolation vs Quarantine? 

If you have tested positive with COVID-19, you will be asked to isolate. If you have been exposed to a positive case of COVID-19, you will be asked to quarantine. Both strategies are used to prevent further spread of the COVID-19 virus to others. 

When should I quarantine and for how long?

If you were exposed to a positive COVID-19 case, you may be considered a close contact and have to quarantine. Exposure includes:

  • Within 6 feet of a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 case for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24 hour period
  • Direct contact (hug, kiss, handshake, etc.) with a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 case

If you are considered a close contact, having to quarantine is determined by your vaccination status and/or if you recently had COVID-19.

You DO NOT have to quarantine if:

  • You are up to date with you COVID-19 vaccinations (recommended primary series and boosters)
    • You should still get tested at least 5 days after exposure, and wear a mask when around others for 10 days after exposure.
  • You have had COVID-19 within the last 90 days
    • You should monitor symptoms and wear a mask when around others for 10 days after exposure.

In both scenarios, if symptoms develop individuals should isolate immediately and get tested. If you test positive, continue to isolate. 

You DO have to quarantine if: 

  • You are not up to date on recommended COVID-19 vaccinations
  • You had COVID-19 over 90 days ago

Close contacts that are quarantining should remain for at least 5 days after last day of contact with positive case. After day 5, you should wear a well-fitting mask when around others through day 10. You should get tested at least 5 days after last day of contact. If symptoms develop, isolate immediately and get tested. 

When should I isolate and for how long?

If you are a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case, you will be asked to isolate from others regardless of vaccination status. To calculate how long to isolate you need the date your symptoms started (or date of test if no symptoms developed). That date is day zero. You should isolate at least 5 days from symptom start.

  •  You can end your isolation after the 5th day if you are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and your other symptoms have improved (Loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation).
  • You should wear a mask around others from day 6 through day 10. If you are unable to wear a mask, you should continue to isolate through day 10. 
  • If you are not fever-free or your other symptoms have not improved, you should continue isolating past day 5 until your are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and your other symptoms have improved.  
  • You should not go anywhere that a mask cannot be worn, such as restaurants and some gyms, until you are through day 10 of your isolation.

When isolating, the CDC states you should:

  • 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.
  • Take steps to improve ventilation at home, 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 well-fitting mask when you need to be around other people.

 

Current CDC Guidelines

Visit the CDC's site to stay up to date on any COVID-19 guidance that may have changed.