Guidance for Quarantine and Isolation

ALERT: EPCPH is reviewing this page to align with updated guidance.

Quarantine Update

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) no longer recommends quarantine for people who have been exposed to COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status. CDC recommends that people who have been exposed still do the following: 

  • People who have known or suspected exposure to COVID-19 should wear a well-fitting mask or respirator around others for 10 days from their last exposure, regardless of vaccination status or history of prior infection.
  • Get tested for COVID-19 at least five full days after your last exposure.

What is isolation?

Isolation is for sick people and people who test positive for COVID-19. It means people should be in isolation (stay away from others) until they meet specific criteria. 

This guidance is for general public settings, and does not apply to health care, congregate care, schools, child cares and other high-risk environments. 


Who needs to isolate?

  • People who are experiencing symptoms of  COVID-19. 
  • People who test positive for COVID-19. 

How do I isolate?

Stay at home, except to get medical care, and separate from others. Practice actions that protect others.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60  percent  alcohol. When using hand sanitizer, cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry. Soap and water are preferred if hands are visibly dirty.  
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.  
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue away. If a tissue is not available, use your inner elbow or sleeve.  
  • Immediately clean your hands (see above).  
  • Avoid sharing personal household items such as dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets in your home.  After using these items, they should be washed thoroughly with soap and water. 
  • Frequently clean “high-touch” surfaces like counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables.   
  • Clean any surfaces that may have blood, stool, or  bodily  fluids on them.  
  • Use a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. Follow the label directions for correct and safe use of the cleaning product.  

How long do I isolate?

How long you should isolate depends on whether or not you feel ill.

If you have symptoms, isolate yourself from others until: 

  • You have no fever and resolving symptoms for 24 hours without the use of medicine, AND  
  • At least five days have passed since your first symptoms  

If you don’t have symptoms, isolate yourself from others until: 

  • Five days have passed since your test, and you have no symptoms. If symptoms begin, isolate following the above criteria. 

You should continue to wear a mask when around others for five days after your isolation period ends. 

Seek prompt medical attention if your symptoms worsen (e.g., difficulty breathing). Prior to seeking any medical attention in an office, clinic, or hospital, you should call and inform that health care facility that you have, or are being evaluated for, COVID-19.  

If you call 911 for emergency assistance, tell your dispatcher that you have or may have COVID-19.