Isolation and Home Care Guidance


Information on what to do if you test positive for COVID-19, believe you have symptoms, or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. Also, how to care for someone who is sick at home with COVID-19.


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

You should be in isolation (stay away from others) until:

  • You have had no fever for at least 24 hours -- without using medicine that reduces fevers,  AND
  • Other symptoms have improved -- for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved,  AND
  • At least 10 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared

If you had no symptoms when you tested positive but developed symptoms AFTER your test, you should continue to isolate for 10 days after your symptoms started and are improving as described above.

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 14 days (quarantine) after their last exposure to that person unless:

  • They are fully vaccinated and show no symptoms of COVID-19. They should get tested 3-5 days after their exposure, even if they don’t have symptoms, and wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days following exposure or until their test result is negative.


  • They had COVID-19 within the previous 3 months, has recovered, and remains without any COVID-19 symptoms.

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