Isolation and Home Care Guidance


Learn what to do if you test positive for COVID-19, believe you have symptoms, or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. Also, find out how to care for someone who is sick at home with COVID-19. For more information and guidance visit the CDC's webpage on Quarantine and Isolation


Isolation helps protect the public by preventing exposure to people who are sick with COVID-19 or have been exposed to people who are sick. You will need to self-isolate if you:

  • Have a positive COVID-19 test.
  • Have symptoms of COVID-19
  • Are getting ill and think you might have COVID-19.

Length of Isolation

Regardless of vaccination status, you should stay at home in isolation and avoid contact with others for at least 5 days

  • You can leave your home after 5 days if:
    • You have no symptoms OR
    • Your symptoms are resolving after 5 days AND at least 24 hours have passed since your fever resolved without using fever reducing medicine
  • Continue to wear a well-fitting mask when around others for an additional 5 days
  • If your symptoms have not resolved after 5 days, or if you have a fever, you must continue to isolate until the above criteria are met

If you tested positive, and have completed self isolation, as you start to return to public places, you should still wear a mask, practice social distancing, and wash your hands frequently. At this time, it is not yet understood how long you may have immunity to COVID-19 after you have tested positive. It is best to follow prevention methods to ensure you do not get COVID-19 again.

Exposure to a Person with COVID-19

Anyone who has had close contact with someone with COVID-19 should stay home for five days followed by mask use for an additional five days for people who are unvaccinated or are more than six months out from their second Pfizer or Moderna dose (or more than two months after the J&J vaccine) and have not yet received a third dose (or second dose if receiving J&J). 

People who have recently completed their primary vaccination series (within six months of their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna, or within two months of their J&J dose) or who have received their third dose (or second dose if receiving J&J) do not need to quarantine following an exposure, but should wear a mask for 10 days after the exposure. Regardless of vaccination status, CDC recommends testing on day 5 after exposure or immediately if symptoms develop.

How do I  care for someone who tested positive?

homecareimage Opens in new windowIf you or a loved one test positive for COVID-19, know what protective steps to take if you are sick or caring for someone who is sick. Everyone in the house can help reduce the spread by:

  • Being in separate areas of your house
  • Washing hands often
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Covering your sneezes and coughs
  • Wearing a facemask in your house
  • Cleaning commonly touched surfaces every day
  • Avoid sharing household items
  • Calling ahead before visiting a doctor

Read more about these preventive measures on our Home Care Advice for COVID-19 fact sheet. En español: Consejos para el cuidado en el hogar para COVID-19