Isolation and Precautions for People with COVID-19
If you have COVID-19, you can spread the virus to others. There are precautions you can take to prevent spreading it to others: isolation, masking, and avoiding contact with people who are at high risk of getting very sick. Isolation is used to separate people with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 from those without COVID-19.
When to Isolate
Regardless of vaccination status, you should isolate from others when you have COVID-19. You should also isolate if you are sick and suspect that you have COVID-19 but do not yet have test results.
If you test positive for COVID-19, stay home for at least 5 days and isolate from others in your home. You are likely most infectious during these first 5 days.
- Wear a high-quality mask if you must be around others at home and in public.
- Do not go places where you are unable to wear a mask.
- Do not travel.
- Stay home and separate from others as much as possible.
- Use a separate bathroom, if possible.
- Take steps to improve ventilation at home, if possible.
- Don’t share personal household items, like cups, towels, and utensils.
- Monitor your symptoms. If you have an emergency warning sign (like trouble breathing), seek emergency medical care immediately.
- Learn more about what to do if you have COVID-19.
End isolation based on how serious your COVID-19 symptoms were.
If you had no symptoms
You may end isolation after day 5.
If you had symptoms
You may end isolation after day 5 if:
- You are fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication)
- Your symptoms are improving
If you still have fever or your other symptoms have not improved, continue to isolate until they improve.
If you had moderate illness (if you experienced shortness of breath or had difficulty breathing), or severe illness (you were hospitalized) due to COVID-19, or you have a weakened immune system, you need to isolate through day 10.
If you had severe illness or have a weakened immune system, consult your doctor before ending isolation. Ending isolation without a viral test may not be an option for you.
If you are unsure if your symptoms are moderate or severe or if you have a weakened immune system, talk to a healthcare provider for further guidance.
Regardless of when you end isolation, avoid being around people who are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19 until at least day 11. Remember to wear a high-quality mask when indoors around others at home and in public and not go places where you are unable to wear a mask until you are able to discontinue masking (see below), including public transportation and travel settings.
Loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation.
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