Coronavirus Disease 2019

Home Isolation Instructions for People with COVID-19

Home isolation guidance PDF
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The following instructions are for people who have COVID-19. It also includes information for their families or caregivers.

Home Care

There is no specific treatment for the virus that causes COVID-19. Here are steps that you can take to help you get better:

  • Rest
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Take acetaminophen (Tylenol®) to reduce fever and pain.
  • Note that children younger than age 2 should not be given any over-the-counter cold medications without first speaking with a doctor.
  • Note that these medicines do not “cure” the illness and do not stop you from spreading germs.
Seeking Medical Care

Make a note of when your symptoms started and continue to monitor your health. Seek prompt medical care if your symptoms get worse, especially if you are at a higher risk of serious illness. This includes people who are age 65 years and older or have a health problem such as a chronic disease or a weak immune system.

Call 911 if there are emergency warning signs

People with life-threatening symptoms should call 911. Tell the dispatch personnel that you have COVID-19. If it’s not urgent, call ahead before visiting your doctor, you may be able to get advice by phone.

COVID-19 may be stressful for people, visit to learn how to care for your mental health and support your loved ones. If you need to speak with someone about your mental health, contact your doctor or the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health Access Center 24/7 Helpline at (800) 854-7771. If you need help finding healthcare, call the Los Angeles County Information line 2-1-1, which is also available 24/7.


Follow the steps below to help prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home and your community.;

Stay home except to get medical care
  • Do not go to work, school, or public areas.
  • Stay home until at least 10 days have passed after your symptoms first appeared AND at least 3 days after you have recovered. Recovery means that your fever is gone for 72 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications and your respiratory symptoms (e.g. cough, shortness of breath) have improved. Even if your test result is negative, you must remain at home for the full time, to prevent spreading your illness to others.
  • If you must leave home to get medical care, do not use public transportation. Use a personal vehicle if possible. If you cannot drive yourself, keep as much distance as possible between you and the driver, leave the windows down and wear a mask if possible. If you do not have a mask, wear a cloth face cover (see below).
  • If you do not have someone to help you, if possible, arrange for food and other necessities to be left at your door. If you need help finding social services, essential items like food and medicines call 2-1-1.
Separate yourself from other people in your home
  • Stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home as much as possible. It is particularly important to stay away from people who are at higher risk of serious illness.

  • Use a separate bathroom. If this is not possible, clean the bathroom after use (see below)

  • Stay at least 6 feet from others.

  • Open windows or use a fan or an air conditioner in shared spaces in the home, if possible, to ensure good airflow.

  • Do not allow visitors and limit the number of people in your home.

  • Do not handle pets or other animals.

  • Do not prepare or serve food to others.

Wear a facemask or cloth face cover when you are around others
  • You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) or pets and before you enter a hospital or doctor’s office. If you do not have a mask, wear a cloth face cover. Note, a mask or cloth face cover should not be placed on anyone who has trouble breathing or is unable to remove it without assistance.
  • If you are not able to wear a facemask or face cover, then people who live with you should not be in the same room with you. If they must enter your room, they should wear a facemask. After leaving your room, they should immediately clean their hands, then remove and dispose of their facemask, and clean their hands again.
  • Use masks and face covers with caution with children. Infants and children under 2 should not wear cloth face coverings. Those between the ages of 2 and 8 should use them but under adult supervision to ensure that the child can breathe safely and avoid choking or suffocation.
  • See Guidance for Cloth Facing Coverings for more information.
Cover your coughs and sneezes

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw used tissues in a lined trash can; immediately wash your hands.

Avoid sharing personal household items

Do not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets in your home. Wash them thoroughly with soap and water after use.

Clean your hands often

Wash your hands often and thoroughly, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food. Use soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry. Use soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.

Clean and disinfect all “high-touch” surfaces every day

High touch surfaces include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables. Also, clean and disinfect any surfaces that may have body fluids on them. Use household cleaning and disinfectant sprays or wipes, according to the product label instructions. See cleaning instructions in Preventing the spread of respiratory illness in the home on the Public Health Website.

Notifying work or school

You should inform your workplace or school that you are in isolation due to COVID-19. Public Health will not notify or release any personal information about you to your workplace or school unless it is necessary to do so to protect your health or the health of others.

Talk to Your Close Contacts

Be sure to tell all of your close contacts that they need to be in quarantine for 14 days after their last contact with you.

The term “close contact” applies to all household members, intimate contacts, caregivers, and individuals with any of the following exposures to you while you are infectious*:

  1. Presence within 6 feet of you for more than 15 minutes
  2. Unprotected contact with your body fluids and/or secretions, for example, being coughed or sneezed on, sharing utensils or saliva, or providing care without wearing appropriate protective equipment. Appropriate protective equipment means gloves and a face mask because cloth face coverings do not provide enough protection for an individual who is caring for you.

*You are considered to be infectious from 48 hours before your symptoms first appeared (or from the date of your positive lab test if you did not have symptoms) until you are no longer required to be isolated (see “Stay home” section above)

Your close contacts should self-quarantine even if they feel well because it can take 2– 14 days for them to show symptoms. See the Home quarantine guidance for those exposed to COVID-19.

Precautions for close contacts

It is recommended that everyone stays at least 6 feet away from you while you are under home isolation. If this is not possible, anyone who continues to be in close contact with you will need to extend their quarantine period to 14 days from the last time they had close contact with you during your isolation period. Your caregivers and household contacts should wear a disposable facemask and gloves if they clean your room or bathroom or come into contact with your body fluids, and/or secretions (such as sweat, saliva, sputum, nasal mucus, vomit, urine, or diarrhea). They should remove and dispose of their gloves first, clean their hands, then remove and dispose of their facemask, and clean their hands again. See cleaning instructions in Preventing the spread of respiratory illness in the home on the Public Health Website.

What should I do if I have questions?

Visit the Public Health website or call 2-1-1 for more information about coronavirus. Please call your health care provider for any questions related to your health.

Updated 5-1-20

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  • Public Health has made reasonable efforts to provide accurate translation. However, no computerized translation is perfect and is not intended to replace traditional translation methods. If questions arise concerning the accuracy of the information, please refer to the English edition of the website, which is the official version.

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