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Guidance for close contacts

Home Office


What is quarantine and how to do it properly.


Quarantine means staying home after you are exposed to someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 so you can avoid infecting others.

Download and print quarantine guidance here.


  • If you have a medical appointment, call ahead and tell the provider that you are a close contact of someone with COVID-19. 

  • Stay away from other people and pets in your home, as much as possible. Use a separate bathroom, if possible. 

  • Wear a face mask at all times when you are around other people or pets. If you must care for pets, wash your hands thoroughly before and after. If you need to be in the same room with pets and other people, wear a face mask If wearing a mask causes you difficulty breathing or other severe consequences, make sure that other people in the room wear face masks. 

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, place the used tissue in a lined trashcan. Wash your hands right away with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or clean your hands with a nickel-size amount of alcohol-based hand sanitizer. 

  • Don’t share food, drinks, dishes, eating utensils, towels or bedding with other people or pets. 

  • Wash dishes, towels and bedding thoroughly and dry them on the hottest appropriate setting. 

  • Use household disinfectants to regularly clean high-touch surfaces, including counters, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, remote controls, keyboards, tablets and bedside tables. 



Who needs to quarantine and for how long?


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.


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.


  • Get tested and stay home and away from other people for at least 5 days if you stay symptom free (day 0 through day 5). If you have no symptoms after day 5 you can be around others so long as you wear a well-fitted mask over the next additional 5 days.

  • 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 and wear a mask.

Image by Winel Sutanto


Symptoms to look out for

Any individual identified as a close contact must monitor themselves for COVID-19 symptoms for the 14 days following their exposure to the virus, regardless of their vaccination status.

Symptoms may appear 24 hours to 14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms or combinations of symptoms may have COVID-19.


  • Fever or chills 

  • Cough 

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing 

  • Fatigue 

  • Muscle or body aches 

  • Headache 

  • New loss of taste or smell 

  • Sore throat 

  • Congestion or runny nose 

  • Nausea or vomiting 

  • Diarrhea 

  • This list does not include all possible symptoms. This will be updated as the CDC continues to update its list as we learn more about COVID-19. 



When should I get tested?

If you are a close contact who is vaccinated, you should get tested 5-7 days after you were exposed to the virus.


Unvaccinated close contacts and/or those who develop symptoms after being exposed to COVID-19, you should get tested as soon as possible.


  • If you receive a negative test result (from either a molecular test [i.e. PCR] or a rapid antigen test), this means that the test did not detect virus at the time that the test was taken. 

  • If you have been identified as a close contact to a person with COVID-19, please follow our quarantine guidance. You may still be infected but it was too early for your test to be positive. 

  • If you received an antibody test, a negative result means that the test did not detect antibodies to the COVID-19 virus and you may have never had COVID-19. The virus that causes COVID-19 is new and what we know about it changes rapidly. Visit the CDC for current and up to date information on COVID-19 antibody tests. 


If you test positive, you should isolate immediately and follow our guidance for positive cases found here.

Coronavirus Test