Quarantine / Isolation Protocol (Updated 1/12/2022)

Quarantine

Isolate

 If you were exposed

You quarantine and stay away from others when you have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19.

If you are sick or test positive
You isolate when you are sick or when you have been infected with the virus, even if you don’t have symptoms.

When to Stay Home

Calculating Quarantine
The date of your exposure is considered day 0. Day 1 is the first full day after your last contact with a person who has had COVID-19. Stay home and away from other people for at least 5 days. Learn why CDC updated guidance for the general public.

IF YOU Were exposed to COVID-19 and are NOT up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccinations

  • Quarantine for at least 5 days

    • Stay home
      Stay home and quarantine for at least 5 full days.​

    • Wear a well-fitted mask if you must be around others in your home.

    • Get tested
      Even if you don’t develop symptoms, get tested at least 5 days after you last had close contact with someone with COVID-19.

  • After quarantine

    • Watch for symptoms
      Watch for symptoms until 10 days after you last had close contact with someone with COVID-19.

    • If you develop symptoms
      Isolate immediately and get tested. Continue to stay home until you know the results. Wear a well-fitted mask around others
      .

  • Take precautions until day 10

    • Wear a mask

      • Wear a well-fitted mask for 10 full days any time you are around others inside your home or in public. Do not go to places where you are unable to wear a mask.

    • Avoid travel

    • Avoid being around people who are at high risk

IF YOU Were exposed to COVID-19 and are up-to-date with vaccination OR had confirmed COVID-19 within the past 90 days (you tested positive using a viral test)

  • No quarantine

    • You do not need to stay home unless you develop symptoms.

  • Get tested

    • Even if you don’t develop symptoms, get tested at least 5 days after you last had close contact with someone with COVID-19

  • Take precautions until day 10

    • Wear a mask

      • Wear a well-fitted mask for 10 full days any time you are around others inside your home or in public. Do not go to places where you are unable to wear a mask.

    • Avoid travel

    • Avoid being around people who are at high risk

Calculating Isolation

Day 0 is your first day of symptoms or a positive viral test. Day 1 is the first full day after your symptoms developed or your test specimen was collected. If you have COVID-19 or have symptoms, isolate for at least 5 days.

IF YOU Tested positive for COVID-19 or have symptoms, regardless of vaccination status

  • Stay home for at least 5 days

  • Stay home for 5 days and isolate from others in your home.

  • Wear a well-fitted mask if you must be around others in your home.

  • Ending isolation if you had symptoms

  • Ending isolation if you did NOT have symptoms

  • If you were severely ill with COVID-19

  • Take precautions until day 10

  • Wear a mask 

    • Wear a well-fitted mask for 10 full days any time you are around others inside your home or in public. Do not go to places where you are unable to wear a mask.

  • Avoid travel

  • Avoid being around people who are at high risk

DEFINITIONS

Exposure

Contact with someone infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in a way that increases the likelihood of getting infected with the virus.

Close Contact

Close contacts are someone who was less than 6 feet away from an infected person (laboratory-confirmed or a clinical diagnosis) for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. For example, three individual 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes.

Quarantine

Quarantine is a strategy used to prevent transmission of COVID-19 by keeping people who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 apart from others.

Who does not need to quarantine

If you came into close contact with someone with COVID-19 and you are in one of the following groups, you do not need to quarantine.

You should wear a well-fitting mask around others for 10 days from the date of your last close contact with someone with COVID-19 (the date of last close contact is considered day 0). Get tested at least 5 days after you last had close contact with someone with COVID-19. If you test positive or develop COVID-19 symptoms, isolate from other people and follow recommendations in the Isolation section below. If you tested positive for COVID-19 with a viral test within the previous 90 days and subsequently recovered and remain without COVID-19 symptoms, you do not need to quarantine or get tested after close contact. You should wear a well-fitting mask around others for 10 days from the date of your last close contact with someone with COVID-19 (the date of last close contact is considered day 0).

Who should quarantine?

If you come into close contact with someone with COVID-19, you should quarantine if you are in one of the following groups:

  • You are ages 18 or older and completed the primary series of recommended vaccine, but have not received a recommended booster shot when eligible.

  • You received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine (completing the primary series) over 2 months ago and have not received a recommended booster shot.

  • You are not vaccinated or have not completed a primary vaccine series.

What to do for quarantine

  • Stay home and away from other people for at least 5 days (day 0 through day 5) after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19. The date of your exposure is considered day 0. Wear a well-fitting mask when around others at home, if possible.

  • For 10 days after your last close contact with someone with COVID-19, watch for fever (100.4◦F or greater), cough, shortness of breath, or other COVID-19 symptoms .

  • If you develop symptoms, get tested immediately and isolate until you receive your test results. If you test positive, follow isolation recommendations.

  • If you do not develop symptoms, get tested at least 5 days after you last had close contact with someone with COVID-19.

    • If you test negative, you can leave your home, but continue to wear a well-fitting mask when around others at home and in public until 10 days after your last close contact with someone with COVID-19.

    • If you test positive, you should isolate for at least 5 days from the date of your positive test (if you do not have symptoms). If you do develop COVID-19 symptoms, isolate for at least 5 days from the date your symptoms began (the date the symptoms started is day 0). Follow recommendations in the isolation section below.

    • If you are unable to get a test 5 days after last close contact with someone with COVID-19, you can leave your home after day 5 if you have been without COVID-19 symptoms throughout the 5-day period. Wear a well-fitting mask for 10 days after your date of last close contact when around others at home and in public.

    • Avoid people who are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe disease, and nursing homes and other high-risk settings, until after at least 10 days.

  • If possible, stay away from people you live with, especially people who are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19, as well as others outside your home throughout the full 10 days after your last close contact with someone with COVID-19.

  • If you are unable to quarantine, you should wear a well-fitting mask for 10 days when around others at home and in public.

  • If you are unable to wear a mask when around others, you should continue to quarantine for 10 days. Avoid people who are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe disease, and nursing homes and other high-risk settings, until after at least 10 days.

  • Do not travel during your 5-day quarantine period. Get tested at least 5 days after your last close contact and make sure your test result is negative and you remain without symptoms before traveling. If you don’t get tested, delay travel until 10 days after your last close contact with a person with COVID-19. If you must travel before the 10 days are completed, wear a well-fitting mask when you are around others for the entire duration of travel during the 10 days. If you are unable to wear a mask, you should not travel during the 10 days.

  • Do not go to places where you are unable to wear a mask, such as restaurants and some gyms, and avoid eating around others at home and at work until after 10 days after your last close contact with someone with COVID-19.

After quarantine

  • Watch for symptoms until 10 days after your last close contact with someone with COVID-19.

  • If you have symptoms, isolate immediately and get tested.

Quarantine in high-risk congregate settings

In certain congregate settings that have high risk of secondary transmission (such as correctional and detention facilities, homeless shelters, or cruise ships), CDC recommends a 10-day quarantine for residents, regardless of vaccination and booster status. During periods of critical staffing shortages, facilities may consider shortening the quarantine period for staff to ensure continuity of operations. Decisions to shorten quarantine in these settings should be made in consultation with state, local, tribal, or territorial health departments and should take into consideration the context and characteristics of the facility. CDC’s setting-specific guidance provides additional recommendations for these settings.

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Isolation

Isolation is used to separate people with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 from those without COVID-19. People who are in isolation should stay home until it’s safe for them to be around others. At home, anyone sick or infected should separate from others, or wear a well-fitting mask when they need to be around others. People in isolation should stay in a specific “sick room” or area and use a separate bathroom if available. Everyone who has presumed or confirmed COVID-19 should stay home and isolate from other people for at least 5 full days (day 0 is the first day of symptoms or the date of the day of the positive viral test for asymptomatic persons). They should wear a mask when around others at home and in public for an additional 5 days. People who are confirmed to have COVID-19 or are showing symptoms of COVID-19 need to isolate regardless of their vaccination status. This includes:

  • People who have a positive viral test for COVID-19, regardless of whether or not they have symptoms.

  • People with symptoms of COVID-19, including people who are awaiting test results or have not been tested. People with symptoms should isolate even if they do not know if they have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19.

What to do for isolation

  • 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.

Learn more about what to do if you are sick and how to notify your contacts.

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Ending isolation for people who had COVID-19 and had symptoms

If you had COVID-19 and had symptoms, isolate for at least 5 days. To calculate your 5-day isolation period, day 0 is your first day of symptoms. Day 1 is the first full day after your symptoms developed. You can leave isolation after 5 full days.

  • You can end isolation after 5 full days 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 continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others at home and in public for 5 additional days (day 6 through day 10) after the end of your 5-day isolation period. If you are unable to wear a mask when around others, you should continue to isolate for a full 10 days. Avoid people who are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe disease, and nursing homes and other high-risk settings, until after at least 10 days.

  • If you continue to have fever or your other symptoms have not improved after 5 days of isolation, you should wait to end your isolation until you are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and your other symptoms have improved. Continue to wear a well-fitting mask. Contact your healthcare provider if you have questions.

  • Do not travel during your 5-day isolation period. After you end isolation, avoid travel until a full 10 days after your first day of symptoms. If you must travel on days 6-10, wear a well-fitting mask when you are around others for the entire duration of travel. If you are unable to wear a mask, you should not travel during the 10 days.

  • Do not go to places where you are unable to wear a mask, such as restaurants and some gyms, and avoid eating around others at home and at work until a full 10 days after your first day of symptoms.

If an individual has access to a test and wants to test, the best approach is to use an antigen test1 towards the end of the 5-day isolation period. Collect the test sample only 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). If your test result is positive, you should continue to isolate until day 10. If your test result is negative,  you can end isolation, but continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others at home and in public until day 10. Follow additional recommendations for masking and restricting travel as described above.

1As noted in the labeling for authorized over-the counter antigen testsexternal iconexternal icon: Negative results should be treated as presumptive. Negative results do not rule out SARS-CoV-2 infection and should not be used as the sole basis for treatment or patient management decisions, including infection control decisions. To improve results, antigen tests should be used twice over a three-day period with at least 24 hours and no more than 48 hours between tests.

Note that these recommendations on ending isolation do not apply to people with severe COVID-19 or with weakened immune systems (immunocompromised). See section below for recommendations for when to end isolation for these groups.

Ending isolation for people who tested positive for COVID-19 but had no symptoms

If you test positive for COVID-19 and never develop symptoms, isolate for at least 5 days. Day 0 is the day of your positive viral test (based on the date you were tested) and day 1 is the first full day after the specimen was collected for your positive test. You can leave isolation after 5 full days.

  • If you continue to have no symptoms, you can end isolation after at least 5 days.

  • You should continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others at home and in public until day 10 (day 6 through day 10). If you are unable to wear a mask when around others, you should continue to isolate for 10 days. Avoid people who are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe disease, and nursing homes and other high-risk settings, until after at least 10 days.

  • If you develop symptoms after testing positive, your 5-day isolation period should start over. Day 0 is your first day of symptoms. Follow the recommendations above for ending isolation for people who had COVID-19 and had symptoms.

  • Do not travel during your 5-day isolation period. After you end isolation, avoid travel until 10 days after the day of your positive test. If you must travel on days 6-10, wear a well-fitting mask when you are around others for the entire duration of travel. If you are unable to wear a mask, you should not travel during the 10 days after your positive test.

  • Do not go to places where you are unable to wear a mask, such as restaurants and some gyms, and avoid eating around others at home and at work until 10 days after the day of your positive test.

If an individual has access to a test and wants to test, the best approach is to use an antigen test1 towards the end of the 5-day isolation period. If your test result is positive, you should continue to isolate until day 10. If your test result is negative, you can end isolation, but continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others at home and in public until day 10. Follow additional recommendations for masking and restricting travel described above.

1As noted in the labeling for authorized over-the counter antigen testsexternal iconexternal icon: Negative results should be treated as presumptive. Negative results do not rule out SARS-CoV-2 infection and should not be used as the sole basis for treatment or patient management decisions, including infection control decisions. To improve results, antigen tests should be used twice over a three-day period with at least 24 hours and no more than 48 hours between tests.

Ending isolation for people who were severely ill with COVID-19 or have a weakened immune system (immunocompromised)

People who are severely ill with COVID-19 (including those who were hospitalized or required intensive care or ventilation support) and people with compromised immune systems might need to isolate at home longer. They may also require testing with a viral test to determine when they can be around others. CDC recommends an isolation period of at least 10 and up to 20 days for people who were severely ill with COVID-19 and for people with weakened immune systems. Consult with your healthcare provider about when you can resume being around other people.

People who are immunocompromised should talk to their healthcare provider about the potential for reduced immune responses to COVID-19 vaccines and the need to continue to follow current prevention measures  (including wearing a well-fitting maskstaying 6 feet apart from others they don’t live with, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces) to protect themselves against COVID-19 until advised otherwise by their healthcare provider. Close contacts of immunocompromised people – including household members – should also be encouraged to receive all recommended COVID-19 vaccine doses to help protect these people.