What to do when exposed to COVID-19

If you’ve had close contact, get tested and wear a mask. And if you're not up-to-date on vaccines, quarantine too.

What to do

Get tested

No matter your vaccine status, when you’ve had close contact or live with someone who has COVID-19, get tested 5 days after you were first exposed.

Testing earlier to find out if you’re positive is optional. But you should consider it so that you can:

  • Get earlier access to treatment options, especially if you’re immunocompromised.
  • Let people know earlier that they might have been exposed.

Stay home if you're not up-to-date

For those not up-to-date on vaccines:

  1. You must stay home for 5 days.
  2. Wear a mask around others.
  3. After 5 days, if you get a negative test or have not developed symptoms, you can leave home, But you must continue to wear a mask around others for 5 more days, especially when indoors.

Do not go to work, school, or any public places. Do not leave your home unless you have to get healthcare. Do not allow visitors into your home unless you need their help to care for yourself.

If you cannot stay away from the person who has Covid-19, for example they’re someone you take care of, then once the infected person’s isolation has ended, you must start your stay at home.

For those unable to get tested or who choose not to get tested, if you develop no symptoms, you can end your quarantine 10 days after your close contact.

When staying home, limit contact with others

1. Stay in your own room and have your own bathroom, if you can. Wear a mask, and have others wear a mask around you.

2. Open windows and doors if it's safe to do so. The virus builds up indoors, so you’ll want to bring in as much fresh air as possible.

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

  • Turn on fans that pull air out of the bathroom.
  • Open windows.
  • Wear a mask.
  • Flush the toilet with the lid closed.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Wipe down anything you touched with a disinfectant.

4. 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.

5. Limit your contact with pets.

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

7. Call Isolation and Quarantine Support at 628-217-6101 if you need help.

When you're staying home, friends and loved ones can help

People 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 someone is helping to take care of you, remind them to wear a mask at all times and wash their hands.

Wear a mask if you're up-to-date

For those up-to-date on vaccines and who do not develop symptoms:

  • You should wear a well-fitting mask around others for 10 days, especially when indoors.
  • You do not need to stay home.

Isolate if you test positive or develop symptoms

No matter your vaccine status, if you test positive or develop symptoms, you must stay home. Follow the steps above for limiting contact with others.

See Department of Public Health guidance for how long to isolate and when to get tested.

When you’ve tested positive or have Covid-19 symptoms, you stay away from others to stop the spread of the virus (isolation).

When you’ve had a close contact, or potential exposure, with someone who has Covid-19, you stay away from others to see if you get sick and to lessen the risk of spreading the virus (quarantine).

You can find additional isolation and quarantine resources here.

Special cases

People who live or work in high-risk settings

Healthcare workers and people who live and work in high-risk settings (long-term care facilities, shelters, jails) have different rules for quarantine.  See the quarantine directive for more information.

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Last updated January 5, 2022