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What happens if I test positive? How long do I need to stay home?

If you tested positive for COVID-19 (regardless of vaccination status):

  • You should stay home and isolate for at least 5 days.
  • If you have no symptoms or your symptoms are resolving after 5 days, you can leave your house but should continue to wear a mask around others for 5 additional days, avoid travel if possible, and avoid places where you can’t wear a mask like a restaurant.
  • If you can’t wear a mask, you should isolate for a full 10 days.
  • If you have a fever, continue to stay home until you are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and other symptoms improve.

Note: If you work in a healthcare setting or live in a high-risk congregate setting, you may be subject to different safety recommendations and timeframes.

Alerting Friends and Loved Ones

In addition to working with contact tracers, you should tell anyone you were in close contact with about your positive COVID-19 test result so they can protect themselves and their loved ones. A close contact is anyone you spent more than 15 minutes with over a 24-hour period and were within six feet.

Adult close contacts who haven’t received a booster shot when eligible and those who aren’t fully vaccinated are at increased risk and should quarantine for 5 days, monitor for symptoms, and get tested at least 5 days after exposure. After ending quarantine, for the next 5 days, they should wear a mask around others, delay travel, avoid persons at high-risk for severe illness, and avoid places where they can’t wear a mask. In addition, they should get a COVID-19 vaccine. Individuals who cannot wear a mask should quarantine for 10 days. If symptoms develop or if they test positive for COVID-19, they should follow isolation recommendations.

You should also tell your work and/or school supervisors that you tested positive for COVID-19.

Resources During Quarantine

If you need help getting food or other essentials during quarantine, there are many programs to help you and your family including food assistance, unemployment insurance, sick leave, and job protections.

For individuals who quarantining at home, but live in large or multigenerational households where others may be at risk, the Department of Health recommends taking the following precautions:

  • For large households or homes with many people, persons who are sick should remain in a separate bedroom and stay away from anyone who is not sick as much as possible.
  • If the sick person cannot be isolated in a separate room, consider having them isolate in an alternate location that has a separate bedroom and bathroom for them to rest and recover.
  • If a family member(s) has underlying health conditions, consider having them quarantine at a nearby alternate site away from the sick individual.
  • If the sick person needs to leave the bedroom to use the bathroom (or kitchen), they should wear a mask.
  • The sick individual should not eat meals with others in the household to limit the spread of the virus within the home.
  • All persons living in the home should practice good hand hygiene (Wash hands often with soap and water or use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol).
  • Cleaning frequently touched surfaces regularly is important especially in the bathroom as well as doorknobs and stair rails