If You Are Sick or Exposed to COVID-19

Updated February 3, 2022

If you feel sick or you have tested positive for COVID-19, taking care of your health is the most important action you can take. Talk to your health care provider as soon as possible about potential treatment options. If you’ve been exposed to COVID-19, feel sick, or know someone who is, it’s important to act quickly to protect your health and the health of others.

On this page:

If you test positive for COVID-19 or have symptoms

  • Take care of your health. Talk to your health care provider as soon as possible to discuss potential treatment options.
  • Stay home for at least 5 days and isolate from others.
  • Tell your close contacts they have been exposed.
  • Wear a well-fitted mask if you must be around others in your home.
  • Monitor your symptoms. Get emergency medical care immediately for emergency warning signs.
  • Continue to isolate after day 5 if you have a fever or symptoms have not improved

After 5 days

If you have not had a fever for 24 hours and symptoms are improving, you can leave isolation after 5 full days, on day 6. Take these steps for 5 more days:

  • Wear a well-fitted mask around others.
  • Do not go to places where you are unable to wear a mask.
  • Avoid travel.
  • Avoid being around people who are at high risk.

If you have been exposed to COVID-19 and you are…

Not up-to-date on vaccinations

Stay home for 5 days after you were exposed. Get tested on day 5 or later.

Up-to-date on vaccinations

Get tested on day 5 or later after you were exposed.

Recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days

Staying home and/or testing is not necessary.

All groups

Take these steps for 10 full days after you were last exposed to the virus:

  • Wear a well-fitted mask around others.
  • Do not go to places where you are unable to wear a mask.
  • Avoid travel.
  • Avoid being around people who are at high risk.
  • If you develop symptoms, isolate immediately and get tested as soon as possible.

Definitions

  • Close contact: Someone who was less than 6 feet away from an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period (for example, three individual 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes). An infected person can spread COVID-19 starting 2 days before they have any symptoms (or, for asymptomatic people, 2 days before the positive specimen collection date).
  • Isolation: A strategy used to separate people with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 from those without COVID-19. To calculate your isolation period: Day 0 is your first day of symptoms or for those who are asymptomatic, the day you tested (not when you received results). Day 1 is the first full day after your symptoms developed or your test specimen was collected.
  • Quarantine: A strategy used to prevent transmission of COVID-19 by keeping people who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 apart from others. To calculate your quarantine period: The date of your exposure is considered day 0. Day 1 is the first full day after your last contact with a person who has had COVID-19.
  • Up-to-date: A person has received all recommended COVID-19 vaccines, including any booster dose(s) when eligible.
  • Well-fitted mask: A mask that fits snugly over your nose, mouth, and chin. No air should leak around the edges of the mask.

More information