Although daily trends in the number of COVID-19 cases across the U.S. may not be as high a they were a couple of months ago and vaccines are being distributed, that doesn't mean we can let our guard down. In fact, most of us could probably use a refresher on some of the COVID-19 basics like who needs to quarantine, what counts as close contact, and when you can be around others after you had COVID-19. Here's what you need to know.
I think I might have been around a person with COVID-19...
People who need to quarantine include:
People who have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19—excluding people who have had COVID-19 within the past 3 months.
People who have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 3 months and recovered do not have to quarantine or get tested again as long as they do not develop new symptoms.
People who develop symptoms again within 3 months of their first bout of COVID-19 may need to be tested again if there is no other cause identified for their symptoms.
People who have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 are not required to quarantine if they have been fully vaccinated against the disease within the last three months and show no symptoms.
What counts as close contact?
You were within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more
You provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19
You had direct physical contact with the person (hugged or kissed them)
You shared eating or drinking utensils
They sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on you
Anyone who has had close contact with someone with COVID-19 should stay home for 14 daysafter their last exposureto that person and watch for fever (100.4◦F), cough, shortness of breath, orother symptomsof COVID-19.
However, anyone who has had close contact with someone with COVID-19 and who meets the following criteria does NOT need to stay home.
Someone who has been fully vaccinated within the last three months and shows no symptoms of COVID-19
Someone who has COVID-19 illness within the previous 3 monthsand
Remains without COVID-19 symptoms (for example, cough, shortness of breath)
I think or I know I had COVID-19, and I had symptoms...
You can be around others after:
10 days since symptoms first appearedand
24 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medicationsand
Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving*
*Loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation
Most people do not require testing to decide when they can be around others; however, if your healthcare provider recommends testing, they will let you know when you can resume being around others based on your test results.
Note that these recommendationsdo notapply to persons with severe COVID-19 or with severely weakened immune systems (immunocompromised).
I tested positive for COVID-19 but had no symptoms...
If you continue to have no symptoms, you can be with others after 10 days have passed since you had a positive viral test for COVID-19. Most people do not require testing to decide when they can be around others; however, if your healthcare provider recommends testing, they will let you know when you can resume being around others based on your test results.
If you develop symptoms after testing positive, follow the guidance above for “I think or know I had COVID-19, and I had symptoms.”
Want more FAQ's? Visit our article on what you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccine. For more information on COVID-19 vaccine distribution, click here.