Check for COVID-19 symptoms before you go out

Watch for COVID-19 symptoms, especially if you work outside your home. Stay home if you feel sick.

What to do

Use these steps to decide whether to go out, especially before reporting to work. If you feel sick, you should stay home.

1. Consider your own COVID-19 status

If you tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 10 days, you must isolate yourself at home.

2. Consider the COVID-19 status of any close contacts

If any close contacts tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 14 days, you must quarantine at home. Do not go to work.

Close contacts include anyone who:

  • Lives with you or stayed overnight with you
  • You were physically intimate with, including only kissing or sex
  • Takes care of you
  • You take care of
  • Stayed within 6 feet of you for 15 minutes or more over the course of a day
  • Had direct contact with your body fluids, including coughs or sneezes

If you are vaccinated, you do not have to quarantine, unless you have symptoms. Find out more about what you can do once you are vaccinated.

3. Check if you have new symptoms

You can get tested for COVID-19 if in the last 24 hours:

  • You have a fever over 100.4° Fahrenheit or 38.0° Celsius
  • You have a cough
  • You’re shivering a lot
  • It’s hard to breathe
  • You feel tired or sore
  • You can’t smell or taste anything
  • Your throat hurts
  • Your head hurts
  • You have a runny or stuffy nose
  • You have diarrhea, feel sick to your stomach, or throw up

Children and youth under 18 do not have to get tested if they have a stuffy nose, soreness, or feel tired. These symptoms are common for them for many other reasons.

You should not go out or go to work. Stay home until you get your test results. See CDC guidelines about what to do if you are sick.

If you test positive for COVID-19, you must isolate yourself at home

If your test is negative, how long you need to stay home depends on if symptoms are improving and if you had a close contact with COVID-19.

4. Decide if you can go out today

You can go out if all of the following are true:

  • You do not have any symptoms
  • You do not have any positive contacts with COVID-19 in the last 14 days 
  • You have not tested positive to COVID-19 in the last 10 days

For all other situations, see how long you need to stay home before going out.

See official guidance

You can refer to forms that businesses used to screen staff and customers, from the Department of Public Health.

See official CDC guidance about COVID-19 symptoms.

Get help


More on isolation and quarantine

For all situations, including if you're vaccinated, see official guidance from the Department of Public Health.

Last updated June 15, 2021