Test Positive/Contact

What to do if you have tested positive for COVID-19 or are suspected to have COVID-19?

Isolation and Quarantine Recommendations for the General Public (not applicable to healthcare personnel)

Persons Who Test Positive for COVID-19 (Isolation) 

Everyone, regardless of vaccination status, previous infection or lack of symptoms. Recommended action: 

  • Stay home (PDF) for at least 5 days.
  • Isolation can end after day 5 if symptoms are not present or are resolving and a diagnostic specimen* collected on day 5 or later tests negative.
  • If unable to test or choosing not to test, and symptoms are not present or are resolving, isolation can end after day 10.
  • If fever is present, isolation should be continued until fever resolves.
  • If symptoms, other than fever, are not resolving continue to isolate until symptoms are resolving or until after day 10.
  • Wear a well-fitting mask around others for a total of 10 days, especially in indoor settings (see Section below on masking for additional information)
  • Antigen test preferred

Persons Who are Exposed to Someone with COVID-19 (Quarantine) 

Unvaccinated**; OR vaccinated and booster-eligible** but have not yet received their booster dose. **Includes persons previously infected with SARS-CoV-2, including within the last 90 days. (See Appendix for definition of booster-eligible). Recommended action:

  • Stay home (PDF) for at least 5 days, after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19.
  • Test on day 5.
  • Quarantine can end after day 5 if symptoms are not present and a diagnostic specimen collected on day 5 or later tests negative.
  • If unable to test or choosing not to test, and symptoms are not present, quarantine can end after day 10.
  • Wear a well-fitting mask around others for a total of 10 days, especially in indoor settings (see Section below on masking for additional information)
  • If testing positive, follow isolation recommendations above.
  • If symptoms develop, test and stay home.

Persons Who are Exposed to Someone with COVID-19 (No Quarantine)

Boosted; OR vaccinated, but not yet booster-eligible. (See Appendix for definition of booster-eligible). Recommended actions:

  • Test on day 5. 
  • Wear a well-fitting mask around others for 10 days, especially in indoor settings (see Section below on masking for additional information)
  • If testing positive, follow isolation recommendations above.
  • If symptoms develop, test and stay home. 

CLICK HERE TO READ THE COMPLETE CDPH GUIDANCE [UPDATED 12/30/21]. 

Watch for Symptoms

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported- ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

This list does not include all possible symptoms. CDC will continue to update this list. Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions (heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, etc.) seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness. 

Click here for CDC COVID-19 Symptoms List 

 

When to Seek Emergency Medical Attention

Look for emergency warnings signs* for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone

*This list does not include all possible symptoms. Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you. Call 911 or your local emergency facility and notify the operator that you are seeking care for someone that has or may have COVID-19. 

Participate in the public health contact tracing interview

A public health team member will contact you if you test positive for COVID-19, usually by phone.  This person will help you understand what to do next and what support is available.

In addition, you will be asked for the names and contact information of people you have had close contact with recently.  This information is asked so that they can notify people who may have been exposed.  Your name will not be shared with your close contacts.

Stay home except to get medical care

You should stay home except to get medical care.  Do not go to work, school, or public areas.  Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.  Ask friends or family members to do your shopping or use a grocery delivery service.

If you do not have someone to help you, if possible, arrange for food or other necessities to be left at your door.  If you need help finding free delivery services, social services, or essential items like food and medicines call 2-1-1.

Call before you go to the doctor

Tell your health care provider you have COVID-19, or are being evaluated for COVID-19.  Put on a face covering before you enter the building.  These steps will help keep people in the office or waiting room from getting sick.

Isolate yourself from people and animals in your home

  • People: As much as possible, stay in the specific room away from other people and use a separate bathroom if available.
  • Animals: Limit contact with pets and other animals.  If possible, have a member of your household care for them.  If you must care for your animal, wear a face covering and wash your hands before and after you interact with them.  See COVID-19 and Animals for more information.
Appendix: California COVID-19 Vaccines Booster Recommendations