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COVID-19

Quarantine and Other Instructions for Close Contacts

INTRODUCTION

Quarantine is used to keep someone who has been exposed to a person with COVID-19 away from others. Quarantine helps prevent the spread of disease before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms. In Los Angeles County, if you have been in close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 you are required to quarantine unless you are exempt. Even if you do not have to quarantine, you are still required to take other steps – see What is a close contact?

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INSTRUCTIONS FOR CLOSE CONTACTS
What is a Close Contact?

You are a “close contact” if you were exposed to someone who tested positive* for COVID-19 while they were infectious if:

  1. You were within 6 feet of someone with COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.
  2. You had unprotected contact with body fluids and/or secretions from someone with COVID-19. For example, you were coughed or sneezed on, you shared a drinking cup or eating utensils, you kissed, or you provided care to them without wearing the right protective equipment.

*Tested positive means they had a positive COVID-19 viral test.

If you are exposed to someone with COVID-19 and you are not up to date with your vaccines, you are required to:

Stay home for at least 5 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19*.

  • Test on Day 5. In addition, consider testing immediately, especially if you or anyone who lives with you is at increased risk for severe illness. If you test positive, follow isolation requirements at ph.lacounty.gov/covidisolation.
  • Quarantine can end after Day 5 only if symptoms are not present and a COVID-19 viral test collected on Day 5 or later is negative.
  • If a test is not done on Day 5 or later and symptoms are not present, quarantine can end after Day 10.

Monitor your health for 10 days. If symptoms develop, test and stay home. If you test positive, follow isolation requirements at ph.lacounty.gov/covidisolation.

Wear a well-fitting medical grade mask around others for 10 days after your last exposure, especially in indoor settings

  • Children should wear a well-fitting, non-cloth mask of multiple layers of non-woven material with a nose wire.
  • See ph.lacounty.gov/masks for more information.

Note: Day 0 is the day of your last contact (exposure) with the infected person. Day 1 is the first full day after your last exposure.

*The following people may be allowed to go to work or school

Students in grades TK-12 who do not have symptoms may attend school during their quarantine period if they are fully vaccinated (and not boosted) or qualify for a modified quarantine that may be offered by their school. They must quarantine at home when they are not at school.

Employees± who are fully vaccinated and booster-eligible but have not yet received their booster dose who do not have symptoms may be allowed by their employer to go to work on the condition that they:

  • Get a viral test 3-5 days after their last exposure to the infected person and the result is negative; and
  • Wear a well-fitting medical-grade mask (ideally an N95/K95) around others indoors and outdoors for a total of 10 days and do not eat or drink around others; and
  • Continue to have no symptoms; and
  • Quarantine at home when they are not at work.

±This does not apply to healthcare personnel who should follow Infection Prevention Guidance for Healthcare Personnel.


When does my first day of quarantine start?
Day 1 is the first full day after your last contact with the infected person.

  • If you live with or care for a person with COVID-19 and cannot avoid close contact with them while they are in isolation you must quarantine. To calculate the end of your quarantine, use the day after the infected person ends isolation as your Day 1.
  • If you received a Public Health Emergency Quarantine Order and you don’t know when you were exposed to the infected person, use the date the order was issued as the date of your last contact with the infected person.

Restrictions during quarantine
To prevent you from spreading COVID-19, you must restrict activities and limit actions that may put you in contact with others.

  • Stay home. Do not go to work, school, or public areas (*see note for when employees who do not have symptoms may be allowed to go to work). Only leave your place of quarantine to get medical care and don't allow non-essential visitors.
  • Separate yourself from others in your home (unless they are also in quarantine). If you need to be in the same room as other household members, in addition to wearing your mask:
    • Keep 6 feet away. If you have to share a room, try setting up the room so that you can stay 6 feet apart, if possible. It is important to stay away from people who are not fully vaccinated and those who are at higher risk of serious illness.
    • Open windows to improve ventilation (if safe to do so) or use air filters and exhaust fans.
    • Use a separate bathroom. If this is not possible, disinfect the bathroom after use.
  • Do not make or serve food to others, if possible. If there is no one else to prepare and serve food, then be sure to wear a mask and wash your hands frequently.
  • Wash or sanitize your hands often.
  • Clean or disinfect high touch surfaces often, especially if you must share spaces with other household members.
  • If you need help getting food or other supplies, call 2-1-1, or visit 211LA.org, or visit the Public Health resource webpage.
  • If you are experiencing homelessness or are unable to safely isolate or quarantine at home, call the COVID Info line 833-540-0473, open daily 8:00am–8:30pm.

Required

Monitor your health for 10 days. If symptoms develop, stay home and test. If you test positive, follow isolation requirements at ph.lacounty.gov/covidisolation.

Wear a well-fitting medical grade mask around others for 10 days, especially in indoor settings

  • Children should wear a well-fitting, non-cloth mask of multiple layers of non-woven material with a nose wire.
  • See ph.lacounty.gov/masks for more information.

Recommended

Consider testing immediately, especially if you or anyone who lives with you is at increased risk for severe illness. If negative, test again on day 5. (If you recently recovered from COVID-19, testing is not recommended unless you develop symptoms.)

Note: Day 0 is the day of your last contact (exposure) with the infected person. Day 1 is the first full day after your last exposure.

Healthcare personnel should follow Infection Prevention Guidance for Healthcare Personnel

*The test must be an FDA authorized COVID-19 viral test such as an antigen or NAAT/PCR test. Recovered means you completed the isolation period for your COVID-19 infection.

Recent travel: For information about testing and quarantine after travel follow CDC domestic and international travel recommendations. See LAC DPH Travel Advisory and Guidance for more details.

CONTACT TRACING

Contact tracing is a simple, confidential process that is being used to help slow the spread of COVID-19. If you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 you should expect a call from a public health specialist.

  • If you get a call or message from "LA PublicHealth" or 1-833-641-0305, please do your part by taking the call. You will be asked about your health and the places you have been.
  • The public health specialist can answer your questions and provide information like how to get a COVID-19 test or how to find a doctor or get help while you are in quarantine.
  • Discussions with public health specialist are confidential. This means that your personal and medical information will be kept private and only shared with those who may need to know, like your doctor.
  • Click here for more information about contact tracing.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
  • For more information, visit the Public Health website ph.lacounty.gov/Coronavirus or call 2-1-1 (which is available 24/7).
  • Please call your doctor for any questions about your health. If you need help finding a doctor, call 2-1-1.
  • Dealing with stress
    • COVID-19 and quarantine may be stressful for people. Visit the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health’s COVID-19 webpage and the 211LA webpage (211la.org/resources/subcategory/mental-health) for local resources to help with mental health & wellbeing concerns. Guidance and resources, including information on crisis hotlines, are also available on the CDC webpage Coping with stress.
    • LA County residents have free access to iPrevail.com, an online mental health resource to help with life's everyday stressors. After a short assessment, you are connected to customized support which may include on-demand chat with peer coaches, self-paced lessons to improve wellbeing, and community support groups. iPrevail is available 24/7 offered in English and Spanish.
    • 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. This number is available 24/7. You can also text “LA” to 74174.



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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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