Most people with COVID-19 will have mild illness and can recover at home without medical care. If you test positive for COVID-19, stay home and let close contacts know they may have been exposed. A close contact is someone you were within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes within a 24 hour period during the infectious period.
Positive COVID-19 Test with Symptoms
If you have a positive COVID-19 test result and have symptoms (e.g., fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing), unless otherwise ordered, isolate at home and avoid contact with others until it has been:
- at least 24 hours after you have recovered, meaning you don't have a fever without the use of fever reducing medicine (e.g., Tylenol, Advil);
- at least 10 days after your symptoms started.
Positive COVID-19 Test with No Symptoms
If you have a positive COVID-19 test, but have no symptoms, stay home for 10 days from the date the test was taken.
Isolate yourself from others if you have COVID-19
If you have a positive COVID-19 test result or suspect you have COVID-19, isolate yourself away from others, even in your own home.
- Stay home, if you are sick except to get urgent medical care. Call ahead to let them know that you may have COVID-19. Avoid going out or riding public transportation.
- Stay in another room or away from others in your home. Avoid close contact with others including hugs and kisses.
- Wear a face covering when you are in the same room as others at home.
- Use a separate bathroom, if possible.
- Check and track your symptoms if you have them. If your symptoms get worse, get medical help right away.
- COVID-19 Public Health Guidance Self-Isolation for Older Adults and Those Who Have Elevated Risk
Quarantine at home if you were exposed
Quarantine at Home
Household members or someone who may have been exposed to COVID-19 should quarantine at home to prevent the spread outside the house.
- Get tested. If you were within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes within a 24 hour period during the infectious period of someone with COVID-19, you should get tested.
- Stay home for at least 10 days after the last close contact (within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes within a 24 hour period during the infectious period) of someone with COVID-19.
- Only go out for necessary errands like getting food, medicine, or other essentials.
- Stay 6 feet apart and avoid close contact with others.
- Wear a face covering when you are in the same room with someone with COVID-19.
- Limit visitors to those who have to be in the home.
Prevent the spread of COVID-19 at home
If someone has COVID-19 in the household, everyone can do their part to prevent the spread at home.
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Clean and disinfect “high-touch” surfaces like phones, bathrooms, remotes, counters, and doorknobs often.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with arm or use a tissue. Throw used tissues in the trash right away.
- Avoid touching face when hands are not clean.
- Avoid sharing personal items like cups, dishes, utensils, towels, and bedding.
- Stay in another room or away from others in your home if you develop symptoms.
- Check and track your symptoms. If your symptoms get worse, get medical help right away.
Taking care of yourself or someone with COVID-19
Living in Large Households
Most people with COVID-19 will have mild illness and can recover at home without medical care. Try to take care of yourself while you are at home. Most people have symptoms for a few days and start to feel better after a week.
- Get rest at home.
- Drink lots of fluids and stay hydrated.
- Use over-the-counter medicines to help with symptoms (after talking to your doctor).
- Keep your doctor’s phone number on hand.
- Check and track your symptoms if you have them. If your symptoms get worse, especially if you have trouble breathing, call your doctor right away.
- Look for emergency warning signs and call 911 if necessary. Emergency warning signs for COVID-19 include: trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, bluish lips or face, can’t wake up or stay awake. If someone is showing any of these signs, call 911. Tell the 911 operator that the patient has or is suspected to have COVID-19.
How to eat meals together or feed someone who is sick
Taking Care of Someone at Home with COVID-19
If possible, make a plate for the sick household member to eat in the separate area they are staying in. If they cannot eat in the separate area they are staying in, they should stay at least 6 feet away from other members of the household during meals. Or, they should eat at a different time than others in the household. Also follow these tips:
- Don’t help prepare food if you are sick.
- Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water before eating. This includes everyone in the household.
- Use clean utensils when putting food on every household member’s plate.
- Don’t eat from the same dishes or use the same utensils as someone else in the household.
- Wear gloves to handle dishes, drinking glasses, and utensils (food service items) if possible. Also, wash these non-disposable items with hot water and soap or in a dishwasher after you use them.
- Have only one person bring food to the sick person and clean-up the sick person’s, food service items. This should be someone who is not at higher risk for severe illness.
- Wash your hands after handling used food service items.