Quarantining for COVID-19

What to do if you live with, or had close contact with, someone who has COVID-19.

What to do

A contact tracer may call to tell you you’ve been exposed to COVID-19, from 628-217-6102. We will never ask for your social security number, financial information, or your immigration status.

Stay at home for at least 14 days

You must quarantine for 14 days, starting from the date of your last contact with the person with COVID-19. 

If you live with someone who has COVID-19, you must quarantine for 2 weeks after that person finished their isolation. This means your quarantine is likely to be at least 3 weeks total.

Do not go to work. Do not leave your home unless you are getting healthcare. Do not allow visitors into your home, unless they are coming to care for you.

Limit contact with people you live with

Stay in your own room, if you can. Wear a face covering, or have others wear a face covering around you.

Open windows and doors. You can get an air purifier, or make one. Tape a 20” by 20” air filter to the intake side of a 20-inch box fan, where air goes in. For more tips, see ventilation requirements for SF businesses.

Use a separate bathroom, if you can. If you share a bathroom:

  1. Turn on fans that pull air out of the bathroom.
  2. Open windows.
  3. Wear a face covering.
  4. Flush the toilet with the lid closed. 
  5. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  6. Wipe down anything you touched with a disinfectant.

Do not prepare or serve food to others. Keep your own set of utensils, plates, towels, bedding, or other household items. Do not share them.

Limit your contact with pets.

Follow personal hygiene and cleaning tips for staying healthy during the coronavirus pandemic.

You can get tested, with or without symptoms

Even if you don't feel sick, you can still get tested. You still must finish your 14-day quarantine even if you test negative.

You should definitely get tested if you develop any COVID-19 symptoms:

  • Fever over 100.4° Fahrenheit or 38.0° Celsius
  • Chills (shivering a lot)
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling tired or sore
  • Can’t smell or taste anything
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Diarrhea, feel sick to your stomach, or throw up

You may need to stay home longer if you test positive or feel sick

If you feel sick or test positive for COVID-19, you must begin to isolate at home.

If you test negative but still feel sick, you should stay home for at least 10 days after you first felt sick.

You can ask friends or loved ones to help

If people ask if they can help, they can:

  • Leave food and drinks at your door
  • Get you medicine to relieve symptoms
  • Help care for children, parents, or other dependents
  • Help care for your pets

If friends and family come to help, remind them to wear a face covering and wash their hands.

See guidance from the Department of Public Health

See Isolation and Quarantine Guidance by the San Francisco Department of Public Health at www.sfcdcp.org/i&q

See flyer about free services if you need help isolating or quarantining.

Special cases

Children or people with special needs

People who need care do not need to isolate themselves at home.

Frontline workers

If you work in COVID-19 response, you should still go to work. Follow your employer’s policy.

These workers include:

  • Healthcare workers
  • Laboratory personnel handling COVID-19 specimens
  • Morgue workers
  • First responders
  • Law enforcement
  • Sanitation workers
  • 911 and 311 operators
  • Emergency management personnel
  • City workers assigned as Disaster Service Workers
  • People who work in long-term care facilities or homeless shelters

Get help



Get help with food, housing, or other needs.

Isolation and Quarantine Support

Get free help self-quarantining.

Contact tracing team

If you were listed as a close contact of someone who tested positive, we’ll call you.

Last updated November 22, 2020