Last updated: Sept. 27, 2021 at 1:17 p.m.
You generally need to be in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 to get infected. Close contact is defined as being within six feet of a person with COVID-19 for a total of about 15 minutes within a 24-hour period.
If you’re unvaccinated and you’ve been in close contact with someone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19, you should:
If you’re fully vaccinated:
If you develop any of these emergency warning signs* for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately:
*This list is not all-inclusive. Talk to your medical provider about any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.
Call 911 if you have a medical emergency: Notify the operator that you have, or think you might have, COVID-19. If possible, put on a cloth face covering before medical help arrives.
Quarantine is for someone who:
People who quarantine stay home and avoid contact with anyone who is not a household member. This is important because a person can be contagious before symptoms begin.
Isolation is for someone who:
People in isolation need to avoid contact with all others, including household members. If possible, people in isolation should stay in a separate room, use a separate bathroom, and have meals prepared for and brought to them.
People who cannot isolate or quarantine safely in their home can stay at the county’s isolation/quarantine facility at no cost to them. We will help arrange for a stay at the facility.
You don’t have to quarantine following a known exposure if all of the following are true:
If it’s been less than two weeks since the final dose in your vaccine series, you will need to quarantine if you’ve been exposed to someone known to have COVID-19. If you develop symptoms - whether or not you’re fully vaccinated - you will need to isolate yourself and seek testing immediately.
For more information about isolation and quarantine, see the CDC’s Duration of Isolation and Precautions for Adults with COVID-19.
For more information about quarantine and isolation considerations for fully vaccinated individuals, check out the CDC’s Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People.
If you have been isolating at home, you can end your isolation when both of these things are true:
If you have tested positive for COVID-19 but did not have any symptoms, you can end home isolation when:
Additional information on preventing the spread of COVID-19 for your household members, intimate partners, and caregivers is available from the CDC.
I was sick with COVID-19. When can I go back to work?
All non-healthcare workers who are diagnosed with COVID-19 or are considered "probable" cases must be excluded from work and may not return until they are released from isolation by the Health Department.
You do not need a negative test to return to work.
For healthcare workers with mild to moderate illness, you may return to work when:
For asymptomatic healthcare workers:
For healthcare workers with severe to critical illness, or who are severely immunocompromised:
You should also:
As of March 10, 2021, fully vaccinated healthcare workers do not need to be restricted from work, with some exceptions. For a list of exceptions and additional information, refer to the CDC’s Updated Healthcare Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations in Response to COVID-19 Vaccination page.
If you’ve been exposed and you’re not yet fully vaccinated, you should actively monitor for symptoms consistent with COVID-19 infection, but can return to work provided you:
If you start to experience symptoms, you should go home immediately and contact your healthcare provider.
No. Unless you have a severely weakened immune system or you have experienced a serious case of COVID-19, you do not need a negative test result to return to work.
Data shared by the CDC about school districts that successfully implemented a modified approach to quarantine was used by the DOH to develop an alternative to quarantining at home for students identified as close contacts in a classroom setting. This alternative option consists of schools using frequent testing of students that were close contacts but remain asymptomatic in order to allow them to stay in school during their quarantine period. Schools may vary somewhat in the specific guidance they provide around quarantine. Parents are encouraged to check with your child’s school for specific quarantine guidelines before returning to school.
If your student is a close contact of a known or suspected COVID-19 case, they can follow the modified quarantine protocol if they do not have symptoms and:
If your student does not meet these criteria and is required to quarantine, your child’s school, in consultation with the Health Department, will recommend a quarantine period, the length of which may vary depending on the school’s assessment of risk and capacity. Under the modified quarantine guidelines, monitor for symptoms for the full 14 days and follow the testing guidelines required by your child’s school.
If your student develops symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or receives a positive test result, isolate from others and follow appropriate guidance.
Follow isolation guidance and limit contacts with others as much as possible.
Your student can return to school when it has been:
Symptoms of coronavirus may include:
This list is not all-inclusive. The CDC continues to update their list of symptoms as more becomes known about COVID-19.
Many who get COVID-19 do not require medical care or hospitalization, but some people get severely ill with respiratory problems like pneumonia. According to the CDC, people most at risk for severe illness are:
The virus has grown less predictable as new variants evolve. Younger people are being hospitalized at much higher rates than they were with previous strains of the virus. While most people with COVID-19 recover and return to normal health, some patients can have symptoms that can last for weeks or even months after recovery from acute illness. Even people who are not hospitalized and who have mild illness can experience persistent or late symptoms. Learn more about long term symptoms on the CDC’s website.
COVID-19 vaccines protect against the worst disease outcomes from the virus. Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines and find a vaccine provider near you on our vaccine page.
Yes. COVID-19 can be spread by individuals who are not exhibiting typical symptoms. In some cases, the individual may not have developed symptoms yet, and in other cases, people may carry and spread the virus without ever experiencing symptoms.
The best way to prevent you or others from being infected with COVID-19 is to get vaccinated. All COVID-19 vaccines currently in use are effective at preventing both infection and spread of the virus.
Added layers of protection will help keep you safe and prevent others from getting sick.