spreads easily from person to person. That's why health experts say to avoid large
crowds and busy places, and stay at least 6 feet away from people you don't live with.
This is called social
distancing (or physical distancing).
But some people might need to do more than that. They might need to stay home for
a set time and not leave even for work, errands, or exercise. This is known as quarantine
or isolation. These differ depending on why a person needs to stay
home and which precautions they must take.
home for an extended time can be hard, especially if the person feels well enough
to go out. But it's an important part of stopping the spread of the virus and protecting
the community. Keeping
your household ready can reduce stress in case that happens.
What Does Quarantine Mean?
Quarantine: This is when someone who might have been exposed
to the virus but has no symptoms and hasn't been vaccinated needs to stay home.
This is because they could be infected and could spread the virus, even though they
After contact with someone who has COVID-19 (or who tested positive), people need
to quarantine if:
They were within 6 feet of the person for at least 15 minutes over a 24-hour period.
They care for that person at home.
They shared dishes, cups, forks, or spoons with the person.
The person coughed or sneezed on them.
They touched, kissed, or hugged the person.
People also might need to quarantine if their local health department requires
it after travel to an area where coronavirus is spreading rapidly.
People who do not need to quarantine after close contact with
someone who's infected include:
Those who are fully vaccinated.
Anyone who had a COVID-19 infection within the last 3 months, recovered, and no
longer has symptoms.
What Does Isolation Mean?
Isolation: This is when someone who is infected with the virus
and is contagious needs to stay home. This helps to prevent spread of the virus
to other people.
In general, the CDC recommends that unvaccinated people:
Quarantine for 14 days (2 weeks) after contact with an infected
person. Newer guidelines recognize how hard it can be for someone to be out of
work or school for that long. So, some local public health authorities allow for:
a 10-day quarantine plus 4 more days of watching closely for symptoms
a 7-day quarantine if a COVID-19 test result is negative after the 5th day
Quarantine after travel (domestic and international) for 7 days
with a negative test and 10 days if no test is done. Fully vaccinated people do not
need to quarantine after travel.
The CDC says that people who develop COVID-19 symptoms or get infected with coronavirus
Isolate for 10 days from the time their COVID-19 symptoms started,
or from the date they tested positive, as long as that includes 1 full day without
a fever and other symptoms get better. Testing usually isn't needed to decide when
to stop isolation.
Someone who starts to feel sick during quarantine should switch to isolation and
add 10 more days. If they start to feel sick near the end of their quarantine period,
it could mean staying at home for as long as 24 days. This can be very hard, but it
is important to do so to prevent spreading the virus to others.
A person in quarantine or isolation should work with their doctor and their local
health department to make sure they follow the most current guidelines.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected most parts of our day-to-day lives. Handling
those changes can be stressful for anyone. If your family has to quarantine or isolate,
it can make things even harder.
Remind your kids that by staying home, you're protecting family members, friends,
neighbors, and others in your community. Focus on the good you're doing, rather than
what you're missing out on. Stay in touch with others with phone calls, video chats,
and texts and emails. And remember that there is an end in sight, especially now that
vaccines are widely available.