If You Are Sick or Have Been Exposed

Please review the guidelines below and follow our Isolation and Quarantine Flowchart for exposures.

I have tested positive for COVID-19

*IMPORTANT NOTE: Public Health continues to prioritize contacting individuals and contacts at highest risk, however due to record high numbers of cases over the past seven days Public Health has reached its capacity to make contact with every person who has tested positive. It is important that the public knows individuals who have tested positive and their contacts may not receive a phone call at this time.

If you have tested positive, you should personally notify anyone you have had close contact with about your positive test result and direct your contacts to quarantine and follow directions below. This notification should be shared with any person in contact with the positive case while they had symptoms AND during the 48 hours before symptoms developed.

  • Stay home.
    • Separate yourself from others inside your home, including animals, as much as possible.
    • Do not go to work, school, or other public areas.
    • Avoid using public transportation.
    • Restrict activities outside of your home, except to get medical care.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. If you can’t wash your hands, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Rub hands together until dry.
  • Tell those who need to know.
    • Tell your employer, school, or child care center about your diagnosis.
    • If you know you have been in close contact with other people, tell them you have tested positive and that they should stay home for 14 days from your last contact.
  • Avoid other people, even those in your household.
    • If you have to be around other people or pets, such as sharing a room or vehicle, or before entering a healthcare provider’s office, wear a face covering or mask.
    • If you can’t wear a mask because it’s hard for you to breathe while wearing one, then keep people who live with you out of your room, and have them wear a medical mask if they come in your room.
    • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and throw away in a lined trashcan. Wash hands thoroughly afterward. Soap and water are best.
    • Avoid sharing personal household items like dishes and glasses, or bedding.
    • Clean all “high touch” surfaces every day, such as counters, tables, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, phones, and keyboards.
    • Use a household cleaning product to clean, following the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Seek help if you need it.
    • If you are having a medical emergency, call 911. Notify dispatch that you have or may have COVID-19.
    • Monitor your symptoms at home and call before visiting your doctor.  If you have an appointment, please tell them you have or may have COVID-19.
  • In general, people may stop isolating 10 days after their symptoms started if they have been fever-free for at least 24 hours and their symptoms are improving. The last day for isolation for someone who never had symptoms is 10 days after their positive test.  See more information from DHS regarding isolation and quarantine requirements here.
  • Public Health recommends against requiring employees to have a release letter to return to work, as this is an unnecessary burden during an emergency response for a communicable disease.  Please call the healthcare provider who administered your test for confirmation of your test results.
  • You don’t need to be tested again if you’ve recently had a positive test. Your test may be positive for many weeks after you recover. You don’t need a negative test to stop isolating.

See more info from DHS by clicking either photo below.

I have COVID-19 symptoms but haven’t been around anyone with COVID-19

  • Close contact is defined as closer than 6 feet, for 15 minutes or more total – OR – direct exposure to coughs, sneezes, or other body fluids.
  • There are many possible symptoms of COVID-19 including fever, cough, shortness of breath, headache, loss of taste or smell, and digestive symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  • If you have these symptoms, you should be tested. Call your health care provider to request testing or get tested at a community testing site. Stay home while you wait for your test results.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes. Do not share personal household items. Clean your hands often. Clean all “high-touch” surfaces like doorknobs often.
  • Monitor your symptoms and call your health care provider if symptoms worsen.

I had close contact with someone with COVID-19 but am not sick

  • Close contact is defined as closer than 6 feet, for 15 minutes or more total – OR – direct exposure to coughs, sneezes, or other body fluids.
  • Monitor your health for fever, cough, any new symptoms, and shortness of breath for 14 days after your last contact with the sick person.
  • Stay home; do not go to work, school, or childcare. Avoid public places for 14 days. 
  • Unless you are a staff member at a health care system who has consulted employee health and been provided with other guidelines, you are required to quarantine at home for a period of 14 days from the date of last contact or exposure with the ill individual.
  • Consider being tested for COVID-19 5-7 days after exposure if you develop symptoms or are advised by public health to be tested. Some people have the virus but don’t have symptoms, so they only way to know for sure is to test. Even if you have a negative test, you still need to stay home for 14 days.

I had close contact with someone who has COVID-19 and am sick

If you are sick with COVID-19 symptoms, even if your symptoms are mild (for example, you think it might be allergies), isolate yourself. 

You should be tested. Call your health care provider and tell them you have symptoms of COVID-19 and were exposed to someone who tested positive. If you can’t get tested by your health care provider or don’t have a health care provider, you should go to a community testing site when one is available.

Stay home while you are waiting for your test results. Even if you have a negative test, you still need to stay home for 14 days.

I live with someone who has COVID-19

  • If the person with COVID-19 can self-isolate (separate bedroom, food delivered to their room, separate bathroom or disinfected after use, can maintain 6 feet of space) and you can avoid additional contact with that person:
    • If you develop symptoms, follow the guidance above.
    • Quarantine requirements: 14 days from when the person with COVID-19 began isolation. 
  • I started my 14-day quarantine, but then had additional close contact with a household member or someone else who has COVID-19:
    • You will have to restart your quarantine from the last day you had close contact with anyone who has COVID-19.  Any time a new household member gets sick with COVID-19 and you had close contact, you also need to restart your quarantine.
    • If you develop symptoms, follow the guidance above.
    • Quarantine requirements: Date of additional close contact with person who has COVID-19 + 14 days.
  • I cannot avoid close contact with the person who has COVID-19 (i.e. Providing direct care to the person who is sick, don’t have a separate bedroom to isolate the person who is sick, or live in close quarters where I am unable to keep a physical distance of 6 feet).
    • You should avoid contact with others outside the home while the person is sick, and quarantine for 14 days after the person who has COVID-19 meets criteria to end their isolation
    • If you develop symptoms, follow the guidance above.
    • Quarantine requirements: Date the person with COVID-19 ends home isolation + 14 days = end of quarantine
  • See household quarantine guidance from the CDC here.

Someone in my home is sick from COVID-19. Besides being in quarantine,
how do I support my household member?

  • The sick person should be in their own room and should have their own bathroom, if possible. They should have the door closed, and food and other needs should be left outside their door for them to pick up.
  • All household members should try to stay away from the sick person as much as possible.
  • The CDC has additional guidance for how to clean and disinfect your home  if someone is sick, including how to clean surfaces, linens, dishes, and trash.
  • The CDC also has information about how to minimize risk if you live in a house with close quarters  (e.g., small apartment with more than one person or a house with multiple generations).
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