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Guidance for close contacts

Home Office


What is quarantine and how to do it properly.


Quarantine means staying home for 14 days after you are exposed to someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19. This is because you can be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 but may not show symptoms for up to 14 days. Even though you may not show symptoms, you can still spread the virus.

People who are not fully vaccinated and are determined to be a close contact of someone with COVID-19 need to quarantine. Vaccinated close contacts with no symptoms do not need to quarantine, but should get tested for COVID-19 5-7 days after their exposure, monitor themselves for symptoms and wear a mask for 14 days.

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. 



How long will I have to quarantine for?

The CDC has updated its guidance to allow for those that show no symptoms and have a negative test, to be released from quarantine before their full 14 days is completed. It is recommended that all individuals still quarantine for the full 14 days, as it’s the best option to prevent the spread of the virus. 


  • If you are two (2) weeks passed your final COVID-19 vaccine dose, and are showing NO SYMPTOMS, you DO NOT have to quarantine. 

  • You should get tested for COVID-19 5-7 days after you are exposed.

  • Continue to watch for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days following exposure. Wear a mask around others during those 14 days.


  • If you have NO SYMPTOMS and a test on day 5-7, as long as your test is negative, you can end your quarantine on day 7.

  • Continue to self monitor through day 14 and follow strict mask usage, social distancing, and all other hygiene measures. 


  • If you do not wish to get tested and you have NO SYMPTOMS – after 10 days you can end your quarantine.

  • You must continue to monitor through day 14 and follow strict mask usage, social distancing, and all other hygiene measures. 


14 day quarantines apply to residents and employees of congregate care settings, regardless of whether they fit the above criteria. 14 day quarantines also apply to unvaccinated individuals with no symptoms who do not get tested, or individuals who developed symptoms at any point in their quarantine. If a close contact does end up testing positive for COVID-19, they should follow positive case guidance found here.

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.


If you are an unvaccinated close contact with no symptoms, and you are getting tested to end your quarantine early, you should get tested 5-7 days after your exposure.


If you 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