COVID-19 FAQs: If you or someone in your family is sick with COVID-19

If you are sick with COVID-19 (confirmed) or suspect you are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, you very likely have many questions concerning your condition and health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers this guidance:

This page was last updated on 1/27/2022 at 5:14 PM.

How long must I be in home isolation (self-quarantine)?

What should I do if I had a high-risk exposure to someone with COVID-19?

If I have COVID-19, can I leave my home at all?

Q: How long must I be in home isolation (self-quarantine) if I test positive?

It’s important to understand the difference between isolation and quarantine.

  • Isolation – separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick. Example: restricting and isolating to a room separated from others in the household.
  • Quarantine – separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. Example: staying home and out of the public.

If you test positive for COVID-19 you should isolate for a minimum of 5 days from the start of symptoms AND after at least 24 hours of symptoms in the absence of fever-reducing medications and with improvement of other COVID-19 symptoms. The first day of symptoms is day 0.

You should also:

  • Wear a well-fitting mask around others for a full 10 days following the onset of symptoms.
  • You should avoid others at high risk for COVID complications (for example, the elderly, nursing home residents, hospitalized patients or immunocompromised) for at least 10 days. In addition, you will want to avoid places where you are unable to wear a mask (such as restaurants) for 10 days.
  • Testing can be considered on day 5. Antigen testing is preferred if available. If you continue to test positive, isolation should continue for 10 days

If you do not have symptoms and have been confirmed positive
You may discontinue home isolation when at least five days have passed since the date of your first positive COVID-19 diagnostic test and you have no subsequent illness.

You should also:

  • Wear a well-fitting mask around others for a full 10 days following the onset of symptoms.
  • You should avoid others at high risk for COVID complications (for example, the elderly, nursing home residents, hospitalized patients or immunocompromised) for at least 10 days. In addition, you will want to avoid places where you are unable to wear a mask (such as restaurants) for 10 days.
  • Testing can be considered on day 5. Antigen testing is preferred if available. If you continue to test positive, isolation should continue for 10 days

Q:  What should I do if I had a high-risk exposure to someone with COVID-19?

A high-risk exposure is defined as contact within an individual diagnosed with COVID-19 within six feet for more than 15 minutes without the use of protection from personal protective equipment such as a mask. If you had significant contact with someone with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis, you should quarantine following your exposure. The length of quarantine depends on your current vaccination status.

If you are unvaccinated or completed your vaccine series more than six months ago and have not received your booster:

  • Quarantine for at least five days following a high-risk exposure. The date of the last high-risk contact is considered day 0. 
  • Testing is encouraged on day five.
  • Wear a well-fitting mask around others for 10 days following exposure.
  • Avoid people who are at high-risk of developing complications of COVID such as the elderly or immunocompromised.
  • Carefully monitor for any symptoms of COVID during the 10 days following exposure. If any symptoms appear, isolate immediately and seek testing.

If you completed your initial vaccine series within the last six months or received an mRNA booster six months after the completion of the initial vaccine series:

  • No quarantine is currently recommended.  
  • Testing is encouraged on day five.
  • Wear a well-fitting mask around others for 10 days following exposure.
  • If any symptoms appear, isolate immediately and seek testing.

If you have recovered from a documented COVID infection in the last 90 days:

  • No testing is recommended unless new symptoms develop.
  • Wear a well-fitting mask around others for 10 days following exposure.

Q: If I have COVID-19, can I leave my home at all?

If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or suspect that you are sick with the virus, stay home except to get medical care. If you think you need medical care, call your provider. Your provider will try to assist you virtually, over the phone or by scheduling an LVHN Video Visit. If an in-person appointment is needed, your provider will let you know. If you need to leave your home for medical care, wear a cloth mask or surgical mask to reduce the likelihood of exposing others to the virus.

Outside of getting medical care, you should isolate yourself to your home. Do not go to work, school, place of worship or other public areas. Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing or taxis.

For updated information from the CDC about COVID-19 and coronavirus, visit CDC.gov/coronavirus.

If you have other questions concerning COVID-19 or about LVHN services, please call 888-402-LVHN (5846).

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