A-Z Index
More Resources


Isolation Instructions for People with COVID-19



In Los Angeles County, if you have COVID-19:

You are considered to have COVID-19 if you have a positive test for COVID-19 or a healthcare provider tells you that you have COVID-19.

Isolate: Stay home and away from others

If you have COVID-19, you must stay home away from others for at least 5 days. You must isolate even if you have no symptoms and/or if you have been vaccinated or infected in the past. Follow the isolation instructions below to protect others.

To count the days:

  • Day 0 is the first day of symptoms.
  • If you don’t have symptoms, Day 0 is when your first positive test was collected. If you go on to get symptoms, restart with Day 0 as the first day of symptoms.

Ending isolation:
You may end isolation after Day 5* (i.e., between Day 6-10) if:

  • You have not had a fever for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicine AND
  • You don’t have any other symptoms or your symptoms are mild and improving.

*Note: LAC DPH strongly recommends that you get a negative test for COVID-19 before ending isolation between Day 6-10. If you do test, it is best to use antigen tests (including self-tests) to lower the risk of false positives.

If your symptoms of COVID-19 are not improving, you must continue to isolate until your symptoms are improving or until after Day 10.

If you have a condition that weakens your immune system or you were severely ill or hospitalized with COVID-19 you might need to stay home for longer than 10 days. Talk to your doctor about when you can be around other people.

If your COVID-19 symptoms return or get worse after you end isolation, you may have COVID-19 rebound. Take an antigen test. If you test positive, you need to restart isolation at Day 0. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms or concerns.

Wear a well-fitting mask

While in isolation, you must wear a well-fitting mask if there is a need to be in the same room with others. Continue to wear a well-fitting mask when you are indoors around others through Day 10.*

*If you meet the criteria to end isolation after Day 5, you can stop wearing a mask sooner (between Day 6-10) if you have two negative COVID-19 tests in a row that were taken at least a day apart.

Note: When you return to work, you are required to wear a mask at your workplace for a total of 10 days. See Return to Work (Non-Healthcare) Summary Table.

To learn which masks offer the best protection, see ph.lacounty.gov/masks.

Tell your close contacts they have been exposed

Tell your close contacts that they could be infected. They should take steps to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 even if they feel well or are up to date with their vaccines. These steps include masking, testing, and monitoring their health. Give them the instructions which are available in multiple languages at ph.lacounty.gov/covidcontacts.

If you could have gotten COVID-19 or passed it on to others at work or school, please tell your workplace or school so that they can take precautions, including recommending testing.

Definition of a Close Contact

A “close contact” is anyone who shared the same indoor airspace as you for at least 15 minutes in 24-hours while you were infectious*.

Examples of indoor airspaces are homes, waiting rooms, and airplanes. An example of ‘at least 15 minutes ’ is being in the same airspace for 5 minutes at 3 different times in a 24-hour period.

*You are considered to be infectious (meaning you can spread COVID-19 to others) from 2 days before your symptoms began until you meet criteria to end isolation. If you test positive for COVID-19 but do not have any symptoms, you are considered to be infectious from 2 days before your test was taken through Day 5.

How to isolate - protecting others

  • Stay home except to get medical care.
    • If you need to leave home to get medical care, wear a well-fitting mask.
    • If you need help finding social services, or essential items like food and medicines, call 2-1-1 .
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Clean and disinfect all “high touch” surfaces routinely (at least once daily)
    • Use household cleaning and disinfectant sprays or wipes. Be sure to follow the product label instructions.

COVID-19 treatment and seeking care

  • If you have symptoms, ask about COVID-19 treatment right away, even if your symptoms are mild. Treatment can prevent you from getting very sick. Many adults and some children qualify for free medicines, such as Paxlovid. The oral medicines must be started within 5 days from the start of your symptoms, so don’t delay. Talk to your doctor or call the Public Health Tele-Health Service 1-833-540-0473 – open 7 days a week, 8:00 am – 8:00 pm. For more information, visit ph.lacounty.gov/covidmedicines.
  • Stay in touch with your doctor and seek medical care if you have symptoms that concern you or that get worse. If you need help finding a doctor, call 211, available 24 hours a day.
  • Call 911 if you or someone you know has emergency warning signs.
Emergency warning signs
Icon of exhausted person.
Icon of person experiencing chest pain
Icon of bluish lips
Icon of confused individual
Icon depicting a sick person

*depending on skin tone

Dealing with Stress

  • If you need to speak with someone about your mental health, contact your doctor or call the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (LAC DMH) 24/7 Helpline at 1-800-854-7771.
  • Local mental health & wellbeing resources are available on the LAC DMH COVID-19 webpage and the 211LA webpage 211la.org/resources/subcategory/mental-health.
  • More information, including a list of crisis hotlines, is available on the CDC webpage Coping with Stress. LA County residents have free access to iPrevail.com, an online mental health resource in English and Spanish. Features include on-demand chat with trained peer coaches, community support groups, and self-paced lessons to help with life's everyday stressors.

Additional Resources

Icon: Get Adobe Reader
Adobe Reader

Note: PDF documents on this site were created using Adobe Acrobat 5.0 or later. Document functionality may be reduced if you are using an earlier version (4.x or less). Get the latest version of Adobe Acrobat.

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.

Los Angeles County Seal: Enriching lives through effective and caring services