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Home isolation and COVID-19

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Home isolation for COVID-19 keeps people with COVID-19 away from other people who are not infected with the virus. If you are in home isolation, you should stay there until it is safe to be around others.

How to Isolate from Other People

Learn when to isolate at home and when it is safe to be around other people.

You should isolate yourself at home if:

You should isolate yourself in either case, even if you have been vaccinated.

While in home isolation, you should separate yourself and stay away from other people to help prevent spreading COVID-19.

When to End Home Isolation

These are the recommendations from the CDC for when it is safe to be around other people.

If you think or know you had COVID-19, and you had symptoms.

It is safe to be around others if ALL of the following are true:

  1. It has been at least 5 full days since your symptoms first appeared (day 0 is the day symptoms appeared, and day 1 is the day after symptoms appeared) AND
  2. You have gone at least 24 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medicine AND
  3. Your other symptoms are improving. You may end home isolation even if you continue to have symptoms such as loss of taste and smell, which may linger for weeks or months.

You should continue to wear a well-fitting mask for at least 5 more days while you are around other people both in your home and out in public. Do not go to restaurants or other places where you cannot wear a mask or eat or drink around other people for these 5 days.

If you still have a fever after 5 days, continue to isolate until you are fever-free without medicine for 24 hours.

If you tested positive for COVID-19, but did not have symptoms.

You can end home isolation if ALL of the following are true:

  1. You have continued to have no symptoms of COVID-19 AND
  2. It has been 5 days since you tested positive

You should continue to wear a well-fitting mask for at least 5 more days while you are around other people both in your home and out in public. Do not go to restaurants or eat around other people for these 5 days.

If you develop symptoms, you need to start your 5-day isolation period over. Day 0 is the day your symptoms developed and day 1 is the day after symptoms appeared.

If you have one available, you can use an at-home COVID-19 self-test at the end of 5 days, as long as you don't have a fever. If the test is positive, continue isolation until day 10. If your test is negative, you can end isolation, but you should continue to wear a mask when around others for 5 more days.

People with weak immune systems due to a health condition or medicine may need to be tested before being around others. People who have severe COVID-19 and those with a weak immune system need to stay in home isolation for at least 10 to 20 days. Talk with your health care provider to find out when it's safe to be around others.

When to Call the Doctor

You should contact your health care provider:

Call 911 or your local emergency number if you have:

References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. COVID-19: Quarantine and Isolation. www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/quarantine-isolation.html. Updated January 27, 2022. Accessed February March 13, 2022.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. COVID-19: What we know about quarantine and isolation. www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/quarantine-isolation-background.html. Updated February 25, 2022. Accessed March 13, 2022.

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Review Date: 3/13/2022  

Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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