If you are a close contact to someone with COVID-19 and you have no symptoms:
Note: these instructions are not intended for employees exposed at work. See additional resources for more information.
You are a "close contact" if you shared the same indoor airspace with someone with COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period while they were infectious*.
Examples of indoor airspaces are homes, waiting rooms, airplanes. An example of "a total of 15 minutes or more" is being in the same airspace with the person for 5 minutes at least 3 different times in 24 hours.
*A person is considered to be infectious (meaning they can spread COVID-19 to others) from 2 days before their symptoms began until they meet criteria to end isolation. If they test positive for COVID-19 but do not have any symptoms, they are considered to be infectious from 2 days before their test was taken through Day 5.
Note: A different definition of a close contact may be used if you are exposed at work, school, or very large indoor spaces.
As long as you do not have symptoms, you do not need to stay away from others. You should take the following steps lower the risk of spreading COVID-19 to others.
To count the days: Day 0 is the day of your last contact (exposure) with the infected person.
well-fitting mask around others indoors through Day 10
This is especially important when you are around people at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19. See ph.lacounty.gov/masks for more details about masks that offer the best protection.
Test for COVID-19 3-5 days after your last exposure
In addition, it is recommended that you get tested right away if you or someone you live with is at higher risk for severe illness. If you test negative before Day 3, retest again between Days 3 and 5, with at least 24 hours between the first and second test.
If you test positive at any time, you must stay home away from others and follow isolation requirements at ph.lacounty.gov/covidisolation.
Note: it is recommended that negative results from antigen tests, including self-tests should be repeated, see FDA instructions on repeat testing.
If you are a contact to someone with COVID-19:
Monitor your health through Day 10
If you develop symptoms, stay home away from others, get tested, and ask about free COVID-19 treatment (see box below). If you test positive or your doctor diagnoses you with COVID-19, you must follow isolation requirements at ph.lacounty.gov/covidisolation.
If you test negative, follow LAC DPH COVID-19 guidance at Learn about Symptoms and What to do If you are Sick.
If you have symptoms, ask about COVID-19 treatment. COVID-19 treatment can prevent people with early COVID-19 infection 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. Talk to your doctor or call the Public Health Tele-Health Service (1-833-540-0473 – open 7 days a week, 8:00 am – 8:30 pm) to see if treatment is right for you, even if you test negative. Tell them you were exposed to someone with COVID-19. See ph.lacounty.gov/covidmedicines to learn more.