Isolation and Home Care Guidance

Find information on what to do after testing, how to care for someone who is sick at home with COVID-19 and what to do if your test is negative.

What can I expect after getting tested?

isolationhomecareimage Opens in new windowThe clinic that did your testing will get the results to you. If you were symptomatic when you were tested you will need to self-isolate until:

  • At least 10 days have passed since your first symptom appeared; AND
  • At least 24 hours have passed since your fever resolved without using fever reducing medicine; AND

  • Your symptoms have gotten better for at least 24 hours

If you tested positive, and have completed self isolation, you should still follow Safer at Home guidelines. 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.

The possibility of having a contagious illness is scary, but doctors, nurses, researchers, and public health officials are learning more about COVID-19 every day. They are working together with national and international agencies to identify and provide care to patients while avoiding the spread of the illness in the community. Continue to listen to your body and take care of yourself. Get plenty of rest, fluids, healthy meals and snacks, relaxation time, and support from loved ones.

En español: Cuando este ENFERMO con síntomas de COVID-19, AÍSLESE para no estar en contacto con otros.

How do I  care for someone who tested positive?

homecareimageIf 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

What if my results were negative? 

If you test negative for COVID-19, you probably were not infected at the time your sample was collected. However, that does not mean you will not get sick. It is possible that you were very early in your infection when your sample was collected and that you could test positive later. Additionally, you could be exposed later and then develop symptoms. Or you might be infected with a different respiratory illness, continue to self-isolate at home until:

  • At least 10 days have passed since your first symptom appeared; AND
  • At least 24 hours have passed since your fever resolved without using fever reducing medicine; AND
  • Your symptoms have gotten better for at least 24 hours

Call your healthcare provider if your symptoms get worse or you develop new symptoms.