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The information below is for the general public and is not applicable to healthcare personnel in hospitals or skilled nursing facilities, or K-12 schools. View individual guidance below.

Cdph guidance for local health jurisdictions
Steps for Isolation

  • Once you test positive, isolation should begin immediately.  Regardless of vaccination status, isolate in your home or in a location where you have little-to-no contact with others. 

  • Talk to a healthcare provider to learn if you qualify for COVID-19 Treatments

  • Notify individuals you were in close contact with during the two (2) days before you developed symptoms (or were tested for COVID-19, if you do not have symptoms) that you have tested positive.  Close contacts should take steps to protect themselves after being exposed. 

  • Contact your employer and be prepared to provide your positive test and the letter referenced above.  Your employer may have different return-to-work requirements based on your occupation. 

  • If you need to see a doctor, CALL for instructions. If you have trouble breathing or other symptoms become severe, call 9-1-1. 

How long is Isolation?

Isolation for COVID-19 consists of either five (5) days or ten (10) days depending on the present of symptoms. Day 1 of isolation is counted by the day after symptoms start or after the day of testing positive for COVID-19. Use the CDPH COVID-19 Isolation Calculator to calculate the duration of your isolation. 

Ending Isolation: Isolation can end after five (5) days if symptoms have resolved and do not have a fever by testing negative with an antigen or rapid test. If continue to test positive after day 5 or still have symptoms present, isolation must continue for the full ten (10) days.  


Regardless of isolation time, wear a well-fitting mask around others for a total of ten (10) days, to minimize the risk of spreading the infection.  Masking guidance can be found here.

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If you are employed in a facility regulated by CalOSHA, additional return-to-work

testing requirements may apply. 

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Recently had COVID-19?

People who have had COVID-19 within the past 90 days and recovered should wear a mask indoors in public for at least 10 days after an additional exposure, monitor for symptoms, and consult with a healthcare professional for testing recommendations if they develop new symptoms.

When to Seek Care

Persons in isolation or should seek medical assistance:

  • If new symptoms develop or their symptoms worsen.

  • If the infected or exposed person is going to a medical office, emergency room, or urgent care center, the facility should be notified ahead of time that the person is infected with or has been exposed to COVID-19; the person should wear a mask for the clinical visit.

  • Any one of the following emergency warning signs signal a need to call 911 and get medical attention immediately:

    • Trouble breathing.

    • Bluish lips or face.

    • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest.

    • New confusion or inability to arouse.

    • New numbness or tingling in the extremities.

    • Other serious symptoms


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