Quarantine is the term used if you have a primary high-risk exposure to COVID-19. It is the period of waiting to see if an individual will acquire the virus or not after an exposure. If you develop symptoms during this time or get a positive test result, your quarantine should transition to an isolation (see below). True high-risk exposure is being with the positive individual within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes cumulatively within a 24 hour period, AND also occurring during their illness OR within 48 hours of their symptoms presenting OR within 48 hours of their positive COVID-19 test if they were asymptomatic. It is recommended that you take a COVID-19 test on the 5th day after your last exposure (PCR preferred).
– If you are fully vaccinated (see “What does fully vaccinated mean?” section), you can continue to go out in public wearing a mask for 10 days from your last contact with a person who has COVID-19 as long as you are asymptomatic, continuing to monitor for symptoms during this time.
– If you are not fully vaccinated, you should quarantine at home for 5 days from your last contact with a person who has COVID-19 and mask in public an additional 5 days as long as you are asymptomatic, continuing to monitor for symptoms during this time.
In either case, watch for fever (100.4◦F), cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19. If possible, stay away from people you live with, especially people who are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19.
“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.” -CDC
Isolation is the term used when you are presumed positive or have tested positive for COVID-19 (even with no symptoms). Isolation times last 5 days from the start of your symptoms or from the positive test date if you are asymptomatic. You must wear a mask for an additional 5 days after your 5 day isolation. If you are unable to wear a mask, a full 10-day isolation is recommended. Isolation can end with improving symptoms and the absence of fever for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicines.
“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
Click here for the updated CDC “Quarantine and Isolation” guidelines (01/09/2022).