If you test positive for COVID-19, you should isolate to protect others. If you were exposed, you should get tested, and may need to quarantine.

On this page:


Quarantine vs. isolation

Quarantine means staying home. It is no longer required for most people who have been exposed, but test negative. But it may be recommended if you live or work in a high-risk setting.

Isolation means staying home and away from others in your household. It is for people who are ill or test positive.

Read more at CDPH’s Isolation and Quarantine Guidance and CDC’s Quarantine and Isolation.


Calculate your isolation

Use this calculator to determine if and when you should test or isolate. This helps keep others safe. 

Start calculating


Quarantine and isolation guidelines

If you were exposed but have no symptoms

Regardless of your vaccination status:

  • Get tested 3-5 days from last exposure
  • Wear a mask around others for 10 days, even at home
  • If test result is positive, isolate

If you had COVID-19 within the last 90 days:

  • You don’t need to test unless symptoms start
  • If symptoms start, isolate and get tested

Learn more in What to Do if You Are Exposed from CDPH.

If you test positive or have symptoms

Regardless of your vaccination status or infection history:

  • Isolate for at least 5 days
    • Sleep and stay in a separate room from those not infected
    • Use a separate bathroom if you can
    • Wear a mask around others, even at home
  • Get tested (antigen preferred) on Day 5
  • End isolation on Day 6 if:
    • You test negative, AND
    • Have no fever for 24 hours without taking fever-reducing medication, AND
    • Your other symptoms are gone or going
  • End isolation on Day 10 if:
    • You test positive on Day 5 or don’t test, AND
    • You have no fever for 24 hours without taking fever-reducing medication
  • If you still have a fever, continue to isolate until it’s been gone for 24 hours
  • After you recover, wear a mask around others for 10 full days after start of symptoms or your positive test

For children who test positive:

  • Children under 2 can end isolation on Day 6 without a negative test
  • Children 2 years and older should follow the steps above for ending isolation

Learn more in What to Do if You Test Positive from CDPH.

High-risk settings

Work exclusion or quarantine is advised for some exposed workers and residents in high-risk settings.

High-risk settings include:

  • Emergency shelters
  • Cooling and heating centers
  • Some healthcare settings
  • Local correctional facilities and detention centers
  • Homeless shelters
  • Long-term care

If you’ve completed your primary vaccination series and booster (if eligible):

  • You don’t need to quarantine or stay home from work unless symptoms start
  • Get tested immediately and on Day 3-5 following exposure
  • If you test positive or symptoms start, isolate

If you had COVID-19 within the last 90 days:

  • You don’t need to test, quarantine, or stay home from work unless symptoms start
  • If symptoms start, isolate and get tested

If you’re not vaccinated, are incompletely-vaccinated, or have completed your primary vaccination series and are booster-eligible but not boosted:

  • Quarantine or stay home from work for at least 5 days
  • Wear a mask around others
  • Get tested on Day 5
  • If you test positive or symptoms develop, isolate
  • If you test negative and have no symptoms, end quarantine or work exclusion after Day 5
  • If you don’t test and have no symptoms, end quarantine or work exclusion after Day 10

Exceptions

Rules for isolation and quarantine may be more restrictive in your area. Check your area’s COVID-19 website.

This isolation and quarantine guidance does not apply in some healthcare settings. See CDPH Guidance on Quarantine and Isolation for Health Care Personnel.


Support during quarantine or isolation

If you can’t work because you have COVID-19 or are near someone who has it, you can file a Disability Insurance (DI) claim

If you can’t work because you are caring for a family member with COVID-19, there is help for your lost wages. File a Paid Family Leave (PFL) claim

In both these cases, you must have a note from a healthcare worker.


Questions and answers

When can I be around other people after I tested positive for COVID-19 but had no symptoms?

If you continue to have no symptoms:

  • Test again after 5 days. If you test negative, you can be with others.
  • Wear a mask around others for 10 days, even at home.

Use CDPH’s Isolation & Quarantine Calculator to determine what to do when. 

If I test positive for COVID-19, what should I do to protect others in my household?

You should self-isolate (stay home and away from others). Avoid those in your household who have not tested positive: 

  • Sleep and stay in a separate room from them
  • Use a separate bathroom, if possible
  • Wear a mask around others

Multiple infected people in the same household can use the same room for isolation. Learn more in What to Do if You Test Positive from CDPH.

Members of your household should get tested and mask for 10 days. They do not have to test if they had a confirmed case of COVID-19 within the last 90 days.

Use CDPH’s Isolation & Quarantine Calculator to determine what to do when.  

Learn more in What to Do if You Are Exposed from CDPH.