Quarantine Q&A

The term quarantine applies to people who have been exposed to COVID-19 as a close contact, but have not yet tested positive.  Once you have been exposed, it can take several days for symptoms to appear or for you to test positive, but if you do have the virus, you are likely to be contagious during that period. 

For this reason, individuals who have been exposed to COVID-19 are expected to quarantine (stay away) from other people to the greatest extent possible, in order to avoid spreading the virus. 

Quarantine guidance can vary depending on each unique situation. Schools are required to have quarantine guidelines in place that must align with State standards while also taking into account the unique needs within each school community.  Contact your school nurse or other designated personnel to learn about your school's quarantine guidelines. 

What is a close contact?

A close contact is defined as someone who was less than 6 feet away from 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).

Scenario 1: Community Exposure
Executives at Work
Quarantine.JPG

Question: I had close contact with someone who has COVID-19.  I will not have further contact or interactions with the person while they are sick (e.g. contact in school, co-worker, neighbor, friend).  What should I do?

 

Answer: You must quarantine at home for at least 7-10 days from the last day of exposure. You can reduce your quarantine to 7 days only if you test negative on or after day 5.  If you develop symptoms, isolate at home and call your medical provider for further instructions. 

Negative Test

Negative test and no symptoms = cleared to return to work or school.

No test and no symptoms = cleared to return to work or school.

Scenario 2: school Exposure
Masks in Classroom

                                                                   Question: I am a student in K-12th grade that had close contact with                                                                                 someone in school who has COVID-19 and and both of us were wearing a                                                                       mask. What should I do?

 

                                                                   Answer: As a K-12 student, you may have options... 

  • Modified Quarantine: If your school site offers the option for modified quarantine, as long as the student does not have any symptoms, they may remain in school for in-person instruction only (no extracurriculars, including sports). Mask up and get tested as soon as you're able to. If the student tests negative and remains without symptoms, retest on or after 5 days from the day they were last exposed. If symptoms develop, stay home and contact your pediatrician.

  • When students are attending school during modified quarantine, they continue to be required to wear masks indoors and are strongly

                encouraged to wear masks outdoors. They may use school buses. They may participate in all required                        instructional components of the school day, except activities where a mask cannot be worn, such as while                  playing certain musical instruments.

  • Home Quarantine: If your school cannot offer modified quarantine or community transmission is too high for it to be safe, you will need to quarantine at home, as outlined in Scenario 1. 

* Note: If either person was not wearing a mask during school exposure, modified quarantine is not an option.

Testing required to stay in school on modified quarantine.

Negative test and no symptoms = cleared to return to work or full school activities

(if under modified quarantine)

No test and no symptoms = cleared to return to work or school.

Scenario 3: Vaccinated Exposure

Question: I had close contact to someone who has COVID-19 and I am fully vaccinated. What should I do?

 

Answer: You do not have to quarantine if you are fully vaccinated and remain symptom free.  You must continue to wear a mask and monitor for symptoms for 14 days after exposure.  If you develop symptoms, test as soon as possible, then isolate at home and contact your provider.

  • Fully Vaccinated means it has been at least two weeks since you finished your COVID-19 vaccine series.  That's two weeks after your second dose if you received Pfizer or Moderna, or one dose for Johnson  & Johnson (Janssen).

Scenario 3: In-home exposure

Question:  I live with someone who has COVID-19 and I cannot avoid close contact. When do I need to start my quarantine?

 

 

Answer:  If you are unvaccinated, you will need to quarantine at home. If you cannot isolate from the COVID+ person, your quarantine will begin the day after their isolation ends.  In most cases, isolation is 10 days from the day the person tests positive or their symptoms began (whichever came first).  Once the 10-day period for the COVID+ individual is over (end of isolation), the clock begins for in-home quarantine for you, the exposed person.  Quarantine will last for at least 7-10 days after the COVID+ person's isolation has ended. 

 

Isolation: separates those infected with a contagious disease from people who are not infected.

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

When to Seek Care

Persons in self-isolation or self-quarantine 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

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 14 days after exposure, monitor for symptoms, and consult with a healthcare professional for testing recommendations if they develop new symptoms.