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Interim Guidance for Implementing Home Care of People Not Requiring Hospitalization for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Interim Guidance for Implementing Home Care of People Not Requiring Hospitalization for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Updated Oct. 16, 2020

Summary of Recent Changes

As of October 16, 2020

  • Adds information and references for home health agency personnel involved in home care of people with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infection
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Preventing COVID-19 from Spreading in Homes and Communities: Interim guidance that may help prevent COVID-19 from spreading among people in homes and in communities.

This interim guidance is for staff at local and state health departments, infection prevention and control professionals, and healthcare personnel who are coordinating the home care and isolation1 of people with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infection, including persons undergoing testing (see Overview of Testing for SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) for more information). This includes patients evaluated in an outpatient setting who do not require hospitalization (i.e., patients who are medically stable and can receive care at home) or patients who are discharged home following a hospitalization with confirmed COVID-19 infection.

In general, people should isolate at home until the risk of secondary transmission is thought to be low. See Discontinuation of Isolation for Persons with COVID-19 Not in Healthcare Settings for more information. Patients and caregivers can visit the If You Are Sick or Caring for Someone page to learn about COVID-19 care at home, as well as protecting others at home and in the community from COVID-19.

This document does not apply to patients in healthcare settings. For interim healthcare infection prevention and control recommendations, see Interim Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Healthcare Personnel During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic. CDC will update this interim guidance as needed and as more information becomes available.

Assess the suitability of the residential setting for home care

In consultation with state or local health department staff, a healthcare professional should assess whether the residential setting is appropriate for home care. Considerations for care at home include whether:

  • The patient is stable enough to receive care at home.
  • Appropriate caregivers are available at home.
  • There is a bedroom where the patient can recover without sharing immediate space with others.
  • There is a separate bathroom for the patient. If this is not feasible, care should be taken to disinfect the bathroom after each use.
  • Resources for access to food and other necessities are available.
  • The patient and other household members are capable of adhering to precautions recommended as part of home care or isolation. This includes the ability of the patient to wear a mask when indicated.
  • There are household members who, if exposed to the virus while the patient is being treated at home, may be at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Persons at increased risk for severe illness should not take care of household members who have COVID-19, if possible. See People Who Are at Increased Risk for Severe Illness to find out who is at increased risk.

Provide guidance for precautions to implement during home care

The coordinating healthcare professional should

  • Provide CDC’s interim guidance for preventing the spread of COVID-19 in home and communities (If You Are Sick or Caring for Someone) to the patient, caregiver, and household members; and
  • Contact their state or local health department to discuss criteria for discontinuing measures included in the guidance.

When home health agency personnel are involved in the care of people with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infection at home


1Isolation is defined as the separation of a sick person with contagious disease, with restriction of that person’s activities, from those who are not sick.