Coronavirus Disease 2019

Home Quarantine Instructions for Close Contacts to COVID-19

Home isolation guidance PDF
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This guidance is for people who were in close contact with someone diagnosed with or suspected to have Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
If you are a health care worker or first responder, please refer to guidance from your employer.
To see the legal requirement that states that all people who have been in close contact with a person diagnosed with or likely to have COVID-19 must quarantine themselves, view the Public Health Emergency Quarantine Order.

Contact Tracing
Contact Tracing Infographic If you have been in contact with someone with COVID-19, you may receive a call from a public health specialist. Please do your part by taking the call and answering some questions about your health and the places you have been. The specialist can answer your questions and provide information about services like how to get a COVID-19 test or find a doctor or get help while you are isolating. Click here for more information about contact tracing.
Why quarantine is important

Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. Quarantine helps prevent spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms.

You have been in close contact with someone who has or is suspected to have COVID-19 so it is important for you to stay home, separate yourself from others, and monitor your health. Please read these instructions carefully.

What is a Close Contact?

A “close contact” is any of the following people who were exposed to an “*infected person” while they were infectious:

  1. An individual who was within 6 feet of the infected person for more than 15 minutes
  2. An individual who had unprotected contact with the infected person’s body fluids and/or secretions, for example, being coughed or sneezed on, sharing utensils or saliva, or providing care without wearing appropriate protective equipment.

*An infected person is anyone with COVID-19, or who is suspected to have COVID-19, and is considered to be infectious from 2 days before their symptoms first appeared until they are no longer required to be isolated (as described in Home Isolation Instructions for People with COVID-19). A person with a positive COVID-19 test but no symptoms is considered to be infectious from 2 days before their test was taken until 10 days after their test.

Length of quarantine period
  • You need to stay in quarantine for 14 days from when you last had close contact with the infectious person. The infected person should follow Home Isolation Instructions for People with COVID-19.
  • If you continue to live with or care for the infected person, the amount of time you have to quarantine depends on the type of contact that you have - find the situation that is most like yours in the section “How do I calculate the end date of my quarantine period” at the end of this guidance.
  • If you don’t know when you were exposed to the infected person and you received a Public Health Emergency Quarantine Order, your last day of quarantine is 14 days from the date the order was issued.
Testing for COVID-19

As a close contact to someone with COVID-19, it is recommended that you get tested.

  • To get a test, call your doctor, visit covid19.lacounty.gov/testing, or call 2-1-1.
  • If your test result is positive:
  • If your test result is negative:
    • You may still be infected, but it is too early to show on the test.
    • You need to stay in quarantine until 14 days after your last exposure to the infected person.
    • Monitor your symptoms and follow the instructions below.
Restrictions during quarantine

To prevent you from unintentionally spreading COVID-19 to uninfected people, you must restrict activities and limit all movements that may put you in contact with others during the quarantine period.

  • Stay home. Do not go to work, school, or public areas. You may only leave your place of quarantine or enter another public or private place to get necessary medical care.
  • Do not allow visitors.
  • Separate yourself from others in your home (unless they are also in quarantine).
    • Stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home. It is very important to stay away from people who are at higher risk of serious illness. This includes people who are age 65 years or older or have a health problem such as a chronic disease or a weak immune system.
    • Use a separate bathroom, if available.
    • Stay at least 6 feet away from others. When this is not possible, wear a cloth face covering (see Cloth face coverings section below).
  • Do not handle pets or other animals.
  • Do not prepare or serve food to others.
Getting help with food and other necessities
  • If you do not have someone to help you, you can arrange for food and other necessities to be left at your door. If you need help finding food or other necessities, call 2-1-1, or visit 211la.org, or the Public Health resource webpage.
Returning to work or school
Monitor your health and know what to do if you develop symptoms
  • It is important to monitor your health for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 which may include the following: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, sore throat, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, congestion or runny nose, or new loss of taste or smell. This list of symptoms is not all inclusive.
  • If you develop any of these symptoms or any other symptoms that are concerning to you, consult your medical provider. Tell them that you are a contact to someone with COVID-19. If you are having serious symptoms such as difficulty breathing, feel pain or pressure in your chest, have bluish lips or face or are experiencing a new onset of confusion or difficulty waking up, call 911 or go to an emergency room. If you do not have a medical provider, call 2-1-1.
  • Make a note of when your symptoms started and follow the guidance Home Isolation Instructions for People with COVID-19.
If you do have to go out for medical care or for COVID-19 testing
  • Wear a surgical mask. If you don’t have one, wear a cloth face covering (see Cloth Face Covering section below).
  • Use a private vehicle if possible. If you cannot drive yourself, be sure to keep as much distance as possible between you and the driver, wear a cloth face covering, if possible, and leave windows down. You should not use public transportation.
Dealing with Stress
COVID-19 and quarantine may be stressful for people, visit ph.lacounty.gov/Coronavirus 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, which is also available 24/7.
Cloth face coverings

Infants and children under the age of 2 should not wear cloth face coverings. Children 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. A mask or cloth face covering should not be placed on anyone who has trouble breathing or is unable to remove it without assistance. See Guidance for Cloth Facing Coverings for more information.

How to calculate when your quarantine period ends

You will need to stay in quarantine for 14 days from the date that you last had close contact with an infected person. See “Length of quarantine period” on page 1 for the definition of close contact and the examples below to learn how to calculate the last date in your quarantine period.

I. YOU HAVE NO FURTHER CONTACT WITH THE INFECTED PERSON
  1. Your last day of quarantine is 14 days from the date when you last had close contact with them.
  2. Example:
    Your last close contact with the infected person: January 1
    +
    14 Days
    =
    Your last day in quarantine: January 15
II. YOU CONTINUE TO HAVE CONTACT WITH THE INFECTED PERSON
For example, you live with and/or care for the person with COVID-19
  1. If you can avoid close contact (see definition on page 1), your last day of quarantine is 14 days from the date the infected person(s) in your household started to follow Home Isolation Instructions for People with COVID-19.
  2. Example:
    Infected person(s) started to follow Home Isolation Instructions: January 5
    +
    14 Days
    =
    Your last day in quarantine: January 19
  3. If you have close contact (see definition on page 1) with that person at any point, the 14-day quarantine period will have to restart from the last day that you had close contact.
  4. Example:
    You started quarantine: January 5
    You had another close contact with infected person: January 8
    +
    14 Days
    =
    Your last day in quarantine: January 22
  5. If you cannot avoid close contact (see definition on page 1), your last day of quarantine is 14 days from the date that the infected person was told that they are “cleared” to stop their isolation.
  6. Example:
    Infected person cleared to stop isolation: January 15
    +
    14 Days
    =
    Your last date in quarantine: January 29
III. YOU RECEIVED A QUARANTINE ORDER BUT DON’T KNOW WHEN YOU WERE EXPOSED
  1. Your last day of quarantine is 14 days from the date of issue on the Order.
  2. Example:
    Issue date on the quarantine order: January 20
    +
    14 Days
    =
    Your last date in quarantine: February 3
Further information
  • 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 health care provider for any questions related to your health. If you need help finding a health care provider, call 2-1-1.
Updated 7-21-20


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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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