What to Do If You Were Exposed to COVID-19
If you have tested positive or are showing symptoms of COVID-19, isolate immediately.
About Being Exposed to COVID-19
A tool to help you determine if you need to isolate or take other steps to prevent spreading COVID-19.
If you were exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 or have been told by a healthcare provider or public health authority that you were exposed, here are the steps that you should take, regardless of your vaccination status or if you have had a previous infection. Learn how COVID-19 spreads and the factors that make risk of spread higher or lower.
Wear a mask as soon as you find out you were exposed
Start counting from Day 1
- Day 0 is the day of your last exposure to someone with COVID-19
- Day 1 is the first full day after your last exposure
Wear a high-quality mask or respirator (e.g., N95) any time you are around others inside your home or indoors in public 1
- Do not go places where you are unable to wear a mask. For travel guidance, see CDC’s Travel webpage.
Take extra precautions if you will be around people who are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19.
- fever (100.4°F or greater)
- shortness of breath
- other COVID-19 symptoms
If you develop symptoms
- isolate immediately
- get tested
- stay home until you know the result
If your test result is positive, follow the isolation recommendations.
Test even if you don’t develop symptoms.
If you already had COVID-19 within the past 90 days, see specific testing recommendations.
Continue taking precautions through day 10
- Wear a high-quality mask when around others at home and indoors in public
You can still develop COVID-19 up to 10 days after you have been exposed.
*About negative test results
As noted in the Food and Drug Administration labeling for authorized over-the-counter antigen tests, negative test results do not rule out SARS-CoV-2 infection and should not be used as the sole basis for treatment or patient management decisions, including infection control decisions.