Quarantine & Isolation

Isolation is for individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19. This includes at-home tests or tests from a lab. Have you tested positive for COVID-19? View isolation instructions and next steps below.

View Isolation Instructions

 

Quarantine is for individuals who have been exposed to COVID-19, but have not yet tested positive.  Have you been exposed to COVID-19? View quarantine instructions and next steps below.

View Quarantine Instructions

 

See the County of San Luis Obispo Health Officer Order of January 6, 2022: Order to Isolate and Quarantine

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Isolation

If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you should isolate. 

This includes positive results from an at-home test or a test from a lab.

Isolation is used to separate people who have tested positive for COVID-19 from people who are not sick. This applies to everyone, regardless of symptoms, vaccination status, or previous infection.  

For individuals who work in healthcare or long-term care, please refer to CDPH healthcare guidance.

 

How do I isolate?

  • Stay at home. Do not go to school, work, church, stores, or social get-togethers.
  • If you live with others, separate yourself as much as possible. Stay in a specific “sick room” or area, and use a separate bathroom, if possible. Avoid contact with other members of the household and pets. Don’t share household items like cups, towels, and utensils.
  • Monitor your health. For many people, COVID-19 illness does not require emergency medical attention, but if you have an emergency warning sign (including trouble breathing, chest pressure or severe confusion), seek emergency medical care immediately.
  • Notify your close contacts that they have been exposed. A close contact is anyone who was within six feet of you for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period (even if you both wore masks) during the two days before your symptoms began or before your test. 
  • Report your result. If you used an at-home test (rapid antigen self-test), you will need to report your test result. If you were tested at a healthcare facility or other testing site, you don't need to report your test result.
  • Optional: request a release-from-isolation attestation. Does your employer or school require documentation or a letter showing that you have completed your isolation period? Use this form to request documentation of your release from isolation.  

 

How long do I need to isolate?

  • Everyone who tests positive must isolate for at least five days.
  • Everyone who tests positive must wear a well-fitting mask around others for a total of 10 days, especially in indoor settings.
  • If you do not have symptoms or your symptoms are resolving and a test (preferably rapid antigen) collected on Day 5 or later is negative, your isolation can end after Day 5.
  • If you are unable to test or choose not to test, and you do not have symptoms or your symptoms are resolving, isolation can end after Day 10.
  • If you have a fever, continue to isolate until your fever resolves.
  • If you have symptoms other than fever, continue to isolate until symptoms are resolving or until after Day 10.

 

Note: To calculate your isolation period, Day 0 is your first day of symptoms or the day of your positive test (if you are asymptomatic). Day 1 is the first full day after symptoms develop, or the first full day after your positive test if you do not experience symptoms.

If you develop symptoms after testing positive, your isolation period starts over. Day 1 is the first full day after your symptoms developed.

 

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Quarantine

If you have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19, you may need to quarantine. 

Quarantine restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease in case they become infected.

If you have been in close contact and live in the same home with someone who has COVID-19, please refer to Quarantine if someone in your household tests positive for COVID-19.

For individuals who work in healthcare or long-term care, please refer to CDPH healthcare guidance.

For students in K-12 school settings and children in preschool/child care settings, please refer to CDPH K-12 guidance and K-12 Q&A.

 

Who should quarantine?

If you have been in close contact (within 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) with someone who has COVID-19 and are not up-to-date on vaccination, you must quarantine. This includes anyone who is:

  • Not yet fully vaccinated (even if you've had a previous infection) or 
  • Vaccinated and booster-eligible, but have not yet received your booster dose

If you are fully vaccinated and booster-eligible but not yet boosted, you must quarantine but may be able to return to work after 3-5 days if you meet certain criteria. See detail about this option in “How do I quarantine?”

If you are up-to-date on vaccination (boosted or fully vaccinated but not yet booster-eligible) you do not need to quarantine, but should review the instructions below

How do I quarantine?

  • Stay home for at least 5 whole days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19.
  • Wear a well-fitting mask around others for a total of 10 days after exposure, especially in indoor settings.
  • Test on Day 5 after your most recent exposure.
  • If you do not have symptoms and if a test on Day 5 or later is negative, quarantine can end after Day 5 if there is no ongoing exposure (such as from a household contact).
  • If you are unable to test or choose not to test, and do not have symptoms, quarantine can end after Day 10 if there is no ongoing exposure.
  • If you test positive, follow isolation instructions.
  • If symptoms develop, test and stay home. A PCR test is preferred.
  • Optional: request a quarantine order or release-from-quarantine attestation. Use this form to request a quarantine order, or this form for a release from quarantine attestation. ​

Optional: If you are fully vaccinated but not yet boosted and have no symptoms, you may test on Day 3 (rather than Day 5). If your test is negative, you may return to work on Day 4, with strict masking through Day 10. If you meet these criteria, you must continue to quarantine other than working (with strict masking) and should test again on Day 5.

 

Note: There are no exceptions for those recently infected with COVID-19. 

 

For those who don't need to quarantine

  • Wear a well-fitting mask around others for 10 days, especially in indoor settings.
  • Test on Day 5. 
  • If you test positive, isolate.
  • If symptoms develop, test and stay home. 

 

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Quarantine if someone in your household tests positive for COVID-19

If you are boosted or are fully vaccinated but not yet booster-eligible, you do not need to quarantine.

If you are not fully vaccinated (even if you've had a previous infection) or if you are vaccinated and booster-eligible, but have not yet received your booster dose:

  • Each individual in your household should follow the guidelines above for isolation and quarantine.
  • If someone in your household has COVID-19, you must quarantine for at least 5 days from your household member’s last day of isolation (which is your last day of exposure).
    • Note: If someone else in your household becomes infected, then your quarantine restarts and begins the day after their isolation ends.
    • Note: If the infected household member is completely separated from non-infected household contacts (stays under a different roof, RV, etc.), the non-infected household members can start their quarantine on the day of the separation.
  • Test on Day 5 after your most recent exposure.
  • If you do not have symptoms and if a test on Day 5 or later is negative, quarantine can end after Day 5 from your last day of exposure.
  • If you are unable to test or choose not to test, and do not have symptoms, quarantine can end after Day 10 from your last day of exposure.
  • If you test positive, follow isolation instructions.
  • If symptoms develop, test and stay home. A PCR test is preferred.
  • (Optional) Use this form to request a quarantine order, or this form for a release from quarantine attestation

Optional: If you are fully vaccinated but not yet boosted and have no symptoms, you may test on Day 3 (rather than Day 5) after your last exposure, which is your household member’s last day of isolation. If your test is negative, you may return to work on Day 4, with strict masking through Day 10. If you meet these criteria, you must continue to quarantine other than working (with strict masking) and should test again on Day 5 after your household member’s last day of isolation. 

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Quarantine After Travel 

Everyone should get tested 1-3 days before travel and 3-5 days after travel, regardless of vaccination status.

All persons who are not up to date with vaccination arriving in or returning to California from other states or countries should stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days.

You can shorten your quarantine to 7 days if you get a negative COVID-19 test 5 or more days after your last day of travel. If you are not tested, following return from out-of-state travel, then you must quarantine for a full 10 days. 


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