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COVID-19

Instructions for Close Contacts (General Public)


THESE INSTRUCTIONS ARE FOR THE GENERAL PUBLIC. If you work or live in a high-risk setting or were exposed at work or school click here.

SUMMARY

If you are a close contact to someone with COVID-19 and you have no symptoms, you are not required to quarantine.*

You are required to:

  1. Wear a highly protective mask around others for 10 days
  2. Get tested 3-5 days after you were last exposed
    If your test result is positive, isolate
    Note: if you had a positive COVID test within the last 90 days you are not required to test as long as you don’t have symptoms. Learn more about when testing is recommended.
  3. Monitor your health for 10 days
    If symptoms start, stay home, and get tested.

*If you are a close contact, you may choose to self-quarantine to protect others, even when it is not required.

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.

ON THIS PAGE Ver página en español

Public Health Emergency Quarantine Order

What is a Close Contact?

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.

Note: A different definition of a close contact may be used if you are exposed at work, school, or high-risk setting.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR CLOSE CONTACTS

If you are a close contact and you do NOT have symptoms, you are not required to quarantine.

You are required to take the following steps to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 to others:

Wear a highly protective mask
You must wear a highly protective mask around others while indoors and when in close contact with others while outdoors through Day 10. This includes wearing it at home.

A highly protective mask is one that fits and filters well. Examples include a well-fitting respirator (N95,KN95, KF94), a double mask (a cloth mask over a medical mask), a well-fitting medical mask, or well-fitting, high-filtration cloth (“reusable”) mask with a nose-wire. Well-fitting respirators provide the most protection. See ph.lacounty.gov/masks for more details about masks that offer the best protection.

Get tested

  • Get tested 3-5 days after your last exposure.
    Note: if you tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 90 days, testing is not required, unless you develop symptoms. Learn more about when it is recommended - see If you tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days.
  • In addition, consider getting tested right away if you are or someone you live with is at higher risk for severe illness. This is because medicine to prevent severe illness is available for people at high risk who test positive and have symptoms, and it should be started as soon as possible after symptoms begin. If you live or spend time with someone at higher risk, finding out that you are positive sooner means that you can take steps to protect them sooner. If you test negative, test again on or after Day 5.

If you test positive at any time, follow isolation requirements at ph.lacounty.gov/covidisolation.

The test should be an FDA-authorized COVID-19 viral test, such as an antigen or NAAT/PCR test. Self-tests are acceptable, but, if used for return to work, the test must be observed or reported in a certain way. For more information check with your employer and see Cal-OSHA Testing FAQs.

If you tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days

If you are a contact to someone with COVID-19:

  • If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should use antigen tests to make sure you have not gotten re-infected.
  • If you do not have symptoms of COVID-19:
    • Testing is not recommended if your first positive test was 30 days ago or less.
    • Testing is recommended if your first positive test was 31-90 days ago. You should use an antigen test.

Monitor your health

Monitor yourself for symptoms through Day 10. If you develop symptoms, test right away and stay home away from others.

  • If you test positive or your doctor diagnoses you with COVID-19, follow isolation requirements atph.lacounty.gov/covidisolation.
  • If you test negative*, continue to stay home and away from others at least until:
  • You have been fever-free without the help of fever-reducing medicines for 24 hours AND
  • Your other symptoms are stable or improving (unless your doctor or Public Health told you to stay home longer)
*If your negative result is from a rapid antigen test or an over-the-counter self-test, you should continue to stay away from others and retest in 1-2 days.

You must continue to follow all instructions for close contacts through Day 10.

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.

Additional Precautions
Even if you do not need to quarantine, there are additional steps you should consider taking to help reduce the risk of exposing others, including the following:

  • Minimize the time that you spend indoors with others, especially if they are at high risk of getting sick from COVID-19, such as unvaccinated people, older people, and those with underlying medical conditions.
  • Encourage others to also wear a highly protective mask when they are indoors with you, especially if they are high risk for getting very sick.
  • When you are indoors with others, bring in as much fresh air as possible. If it is safe to do so, open windows and use fans to blow air out or use air purifiers. See the CDC's Improving Ventilation in Your Home webpage and the California Department of Public Health's Tips for Reducing COVID-19 Risk Indoors for more information.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • For more tips on how to reduce your risk, see ph.lacounty.gov/reducerisk.

Quarantine means staying away from others in case you become infected.

If you are required to quarantine, you must stay away from others for at least 5 days after your last exposure.

  • Quarantine can end after Day 5 only if you do not have symptoms and a COVID-19 viral test* collected on or after Day 5 is negative.
    When you leave quarantine, you must wear a mask, and monitor your health through Day 10 (see instructions above).
  • If you do not test on or after Day 5 and you do not have symptoms, you can end quarantine after Day 10.

How to count quarantine days: 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.

If you live with or care for a person with COVID-19 and cannot avoid close contact with them while they are in isolation, 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.

How to quarantine

  • Stay home. Do not go to work, school, or public areas. Only leave your place of quarantine to get medical care and don't allow non-essential visitors.
  • Separate yourself from others in your home. If you need to be in the same room as other household members:
    • Wear a highly protective mask such as a well-fitting respirator (N95, KN95, KF94) or a double mask (cloth mask over a medical mask).
    • Keep at least 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 at higher risk of serious illness.
  • Bring as much fresh air into your home as possible. If it is safe to do so, open windows and use fans to blow air out or use air purifiers to help clear out COVID-19 virus particles. See the CDC's Improving Ventilation in Your Home webpage and the California Department of Public Health's Tips for Reducing COVID-19 Risk Indoors for more information.
  • Use a separate bathroom if possible. If sharing a bathroom, disinfect after each use and open a window or turn on a fan and wait 30 minutes before entering after the person with COVID-19 uses it.
  • Do not make or serve food to others, if possible. Be sure to wear a mask and wash your hands often If there is no one else to prepare and serve food.
  • Wash or sanitize your hands regularly.
  • Clean high touch surfaces routinely (at least once a day) 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 need help:

Call the COVID Call Center 1-833-540-0473, open daily 8:00am–8:30pm if you are experiencing homelessness, are unable to safely isolate or quarantine at home, or have questions. Operators can find a place for you to isolate or quarantine, answer your COVID-19 questions, and share other helpful resources.

Recent travel: For information about testing and quarantine after travel follow CDC domestic and international travel recommendations.

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 may receive 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 the COVID Info line 1-833-540-0473, open daily 8:00am–8:30pm.
  • 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 1-800-854-7771. 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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