Important update: Healthcare facilities
CDC has updated select ways to operate healthcare systems effectively in response to COVID-19 vaccination. Learn more
To maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, get vaccinated as soon as you can and wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.
UPDATE
Given new evidence on the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant, CDC has updated the guidance for fully vaccinated people. CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status. Children should return to full-time in-person learning in the fall with layered prevention strategies in place.

Quarantine and Isolation

Quarantine and Isolation
Quarantine vs. Isolation
  • You quarantine when you might have been exposed to the virus.
  • You isolate when you have been infected with the virus, even if you don’t have symptoms.
For Health Departments

For detailed CDC recommendations for public health agencies on the duration of quarantine, see Science Brief: Options to Reduce Quarantine.

Quarantine

Quarantine if you have been in close contact (within 6 feet of someone for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) with someone who has COVID-19, unless you have been fully vaccinated. People who are fully vaccinated do NOT need to quarantine after contact with someone who had COVID-19 unless they have symptoms. However, fully vaccinated people should get tested 3-5 days after their exposure, even if they don’t have symptoms and wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days following exposure or until their test result is negative.

What to do

  • Stay home for 14 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19.
  • Watch for fever (100.4◦F), cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19.
  • If possible, stay away from people you live with, especially people who are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19.

After quarantine

  • Watch for symptoms until 14 days after exposure.
  • If you have symptoms, immediately self-isolate and contact your local public health authority or healthcare provider.

You may be able to shorten your quarantine

Your local public health authorities make the final decisions about how long quarantine should last, based on local conditions and needs. Follow the recommendations of your local public health department if you need to quarantine. Options they will consider include stopping quarantine

  • After day 10 without testing
  • After day 7 after receiving a negative test result (test must occur on day 5 or later)

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Isolation

Isolation is used to separate people infected with COVID-19 from those who are not infected.

People who are in isolation should stay home until it’s safe for them to be around others. At home, anyone sick or infected should separate from others, stay in a specific “sick room” or area, and use a separate bathroom (if available).

What to do

  • Monitor your symptoms. If you have an emergency warning sign (including trouble breathing), seek emergency medical care immediately.
  • Stay in a separate room from other household members, if possible.
  • Use a separate bathroom, if possible.
  • Avoid contact with other members of the household and pets.
  • Don’t share personal household items, like cups, towels, and utensils.
  • Wear a mask when around other people if able.

Learn more about what to do if you are sick and how to notify your contacts.

When You Can be Around Others After You Had or Likely Had COVID-19

Most people do not require testing to decide when they can be around others; however, if your healthcare provider recommends testing, they will let you know when you can resume being around others based on your test results.

For Anyone Who Has Been Around a Person with COVID-19

Anyone who has had close contact with someone with COVID-19 should quarantine for 14 days after their last exposure to that person, except if they meet the following conditions:

Someone who has been fully vaccinated and shows no symptoms of COVID-19 does not need to quarantine. However, fully vaccinated close contacts should:

  • Wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days following exposure or until a negative test result.
  • Get tested 3-5 days after close contact with someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
  • Get tested and isolate immediately if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

Someone who tested positive for COVID-19 with a viral test within the previous 90 days and has subsequently recovered and remains without COVID-19 symptoms does not need to quarantine. However, close contacts with prior COVID-19 infection in the previous 90 days should:

  • Wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days after exposure.
  • Monitor for COVID-19 symptoms and isolate immediately if symptoms develop.
  • Consult with a healthcare professional for testing recommendations if new symptoms develop.

I think or know I had COVID-19, and I had symptoms

You can be around others after:

  • 10 days since symptoms first appeared and
  • 24 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
  • Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving*

*Loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation​

Note that these recommendations do not apply to people with severe COVID-19 or with weakened immune systems (immunocompromised).

I tested positive for COVID-19 but had no symptoms

If you continue to have no symptoms, you can be with others after 10 days have passed since you had a positive viral test for COVID-19.

If you develop symptoms after testing positive, follow the guidance above for “I think or know I had COVID-19, and I had symptoms.”

I was severely ill with COVID-19 or have a weakened immune system (immunocompromised) caused by a health condition or medication.

People who are severely ill with COVID-19 might need to stay home longer than 10 days and up to 20 days after symptoms first appeared. People with weakened immune systems may require testing to determine when they can be around others. Talk to your healthcare provider for more information. Your healthcare provider will let you know if you can resume being around other people based on the results of your testing.

People who are immunocompromised should be counseled about the potential for reduced immune responses to COVID-19 vaccines and the need to continue to follow current prevention measures (including wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others they don’t live with, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces) to protect themselves against COVID-19 until advised otherwise by their healthcare provider. Close contacts of immunocompromised people should also be encouraged to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to help protect these people.

For Healthcare Professionals

If you are a healthcare professional who thinks or knows you had COVID-19, you should follow the same recommendations listed above for when you can resume being around others outside the workplace. When you can return to work depends on different factors and situations. For information on when you can return to work, see the following:

Criteria for Return to Work for Healthcare Personnel with SARS-CoV-2 Infection (Interim Guidance)

Digital Resources
covid-question

If you have or think you might have COVID-19, it is important to stay home and away from others. When you can be around others depends on different factors for different situations.

covid-no-symtoms

If you have or think you might have COVID-19, it is important to stay home and away from others. When you can be around others depends on different factors for different situations.