COVID-19 Isolation/Quarantine Self-Assessment
Updated with CDC isolation and quarantine guidelines from 01/09/2022.
If you would like a chart version of the isolation/quarantine scenarios, click here.
You are COVID-19 positive
A positive result with either a PCR or a Rapid Antigen test is considered a valid result.
- You are COVID-19 positive. A PCR or Rapid Antigen test result are both valid.
- Presence or absence of symptoms does not change a positive status.
- Vaccination status does not change a positive status.
- If you are asymptomatic, isolate for 5 days from your test date. You must wear a mask in public and continue to monitor for symptoms for an additional 5 days.
- If you develop symptoms at any time during these 10 days, isolate 5 days from the start of symptoms and mask an additional 5 days after.
- If your symptoms started before your positive test, backdate your 5 day isolation to the start of symptoms and mask an additional 5 days after.
- If you cannot mask around others, you must isolate the full 10 days.
- There is no need to test again after your isolation.
- Isolation ends when a minimum of 5 days have passed and you are still asymptomatic OR isolation ends when a minimum of 5 days have passed and you are free of fever for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicines with other symptoms improving.
What should I do?
You should isolate for 5 days or 10 days depending on the ability to mask.
- If you are asymptomatic, your 5-day isolation starts from your positive test date. You should wear a mask around others for an additional 5 days and monitor for symptoms during this time.
- If symptoms develop during this 10-day period, your 5-day isolation and 5-day masking period restarts from the day your symptoms start.
- If you had symptoms prior to your positive test, the start of your 5-day isolation and 5-day masking period is backdated to the start of symptoms.
- If you are unable to mask around others, you should isolate the complete 10 days.
Isolation ends when a minimum of 5 days have passed AND either you are still asymptomatic OR you are free of fever for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicines with other symptoms improving.
Isolation times start from the start of your positive test date only if you remain asymptomatic throughout the isolation period. If you initiate isolation from your test date and then you subsequently develop symptoms, your 5-day isolation and 5-day masking period time restarts from the first day of symptoms. If symptoms develop, you must also be free of fever (without using fever-reducing medication) for at least 24 hours AND symptoms must be improving to end isolation.
“As much as possible, stay in a specific room and away from other people and pets in your home. If possible, you should use a separate bathroom. If you need to be around other people or animals in or outside of the home, wear a mask. Tell your close contacts that they may have been exposed to COVID-19. An infected person can spread COVID-19 starting 48 hours (or 2 days) before the person has any symptoms or tests positive. By letting your close contacts know they may have been exposed to COVID-19, you are helping to protect everyone.” -CDC
What is my treatment plan?
No treatment is necessary if you do not have any symptoms. If you develop any symptoms, treatment plans will be similar to cold/flu virus infections.
- Fever – Fever is a natural part of fighting a virus and does not need to be reduced unless there is discomfort. Your motto should be “treat the child, not the fever.” You can take ibuprofen (≥6 months old) and/or Tylenol as needed for discomfort. Call if fever reaches ≥106.
- Cough/congestion – Use suction/saline, cold mist humidifier, sit in a steamy room, and keep head elevated whenever possible for cough and congestion. You can also give warm water with honey and/or lemon to treat coughs for children older than 1 year of age. We do not recommend the use of cough and congestion medicines.
- Vomit/diarrhea – Vomiting may be monitored for up to 48 hours as long as there is no blood or bile present. Make sure that you are staying hydrated and perform the rehydration cycle for excessive vomiting. Diarrhea can be monitored for up to 2 weeks as long as there is no blood. Make sure you are mindful of preventing diaper rash if there is excessive diarrhea.
- Seek medical attention if there is a fever ≥101 for ≥3 days (or any fever ≥100.4 in children less than 3 months old), respiratory distress, dehydration symptoms, or lethargy.
Do I need to schedule an appointment?
If you do not develop any symptoms, you do not need to schedule an appointment.
If you develop symptoms, you may be able to monitor and treat at home in most cases. Seek medical attention if there is a fever ≥101 for ≥3 days (or any fever ≥100.4 in children less than 3 months old), respiratory distress, dehydration symptoms, or lethargy. You may also need an appointment if your school is requiring a note. Please see the “How do I get a Return to School note?” section below.
If an appointment at your Blue Fish location is needed, because you are COVID-19 positive we have modified visit options for the safety of you, our other patients, and our staff.
- Telemedicine visits – These visits occur through a video chat. You can call our front desk staff to schedule this appointment.
- Car visits – If the doctor thinks that an in-person visit is warranted, we may have you park in front of our building and the doctor will come out to you. Call and speak to our medical assistant staff to see if the doctor will approve this type of visit.
- End-of-day visits – If the doctor thinks that an in-person visit in the office is warranted, we may have you wait in the hallway at the end of our business hours and call you in directly to the closest room available. Call and speak to our medical assistant staff to see if the doctor will approve this type of visit.
Should I test?
There is no need to test again after you have completed your isolation. You are exempt from testing and quarantining for 3 months after your positive test day as long as you do not develop new symptoms. If you do develop new symptoms contact your doctor.
If your school is requiring a test, you can go to one of the testing facilities below or contact your Blue Fish location for a lab slip to get a PCR test at a Memorial Hermann Urgent Care.
A PCR test recommended for the best accuracy. For a PCR test, POSITIVE results are reliable and NEGATIVE results are generally reliable. The later the test is taken after an exposure, the more accurate the results.
A RAPID ANTIGEN test can be taken for quicker results, but should be verified with a PCR test. For a rapid antigen test, POSITIVE results are reliable but NEGATIVE results are NOT reliable. A repeat rapid antigen test 36 hours apart from the first increases accuracy.
Local testing sites:
List of Harris County / Houston COVID-19 Nasopharyngeal Swab Testing Sites
Closest Testing Facilities by Blue Fish Location
Which test is best for COVID-19, PCR vs. rapid antigen vs. antibody?
For additional counseling, please call the office to schedule a telemedicine visit with your doctor.
Can my isolation end sooner?
A 5-day isolation is the shortest possible isolation available. There are no options to end isolation sooner after a positive COVID-19 test result. You must isolate for 10 days if you are unable to mask around others.
What about my family?
For those who are living with someone in isolation for COVID-19, they are likely a primary high risk exposure and may need to quarantine and/or mask depending on their vaccination status (click here to use our COVID-19 Self-Assessment for specific family member exposure guidelines and recommendations).
When am I cleared?
After a minimum of 5 days have passed (10 days if you cannot mask) AND symptoms have improved AND you are free of fever for more than 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medicines. If you end isolation in 5 days, you must also wear a mask for an additional 5 days around others.
How do I get a Return to School note?
Ask your school for their specific return requirements. Once you have completed isolation, if you require a school note, please email your Blue Fish location with the following information:
- Date of Birth
- Pediatrician name
- Start date of symptoms (if any)
- Date positive test was taken
- Are you currently free of fever?
- Have your symptoms improved?
You should receive a response within 1 business day.
This COVID-19 Self-Assessment does not replace professional medical advice, but can guide you on quarantining and isolation guidelines. Parents should help answer for children. Each member of the family can take this Self-Assessment to determine their specific quarantine/isolation guidelines. You may retake this self-evaluation at anytime during your quarantine if circumstances change.
If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please dial 911 or go to a pediatric emergency room.
By clicking the link below, you are acknowledging that this tool is used for guidance only and does not replace professional medical advice.