Isolation keeps someone who is sick or tested positive for COVID-19 without symptoms away from others, even in their own home.
Home Isolation Guidance
The guidelines below reflect the most recent recommendations by CDC and CDPH (California Department of Public Health). They are available to you as an option, though risk of transmission may exist past 5 days. Isolating away from others for 10 days continues to be the safest option.
Persons Who Test Positive for COVID-19 (Isolation)
|If you have tested positive for COVID, you should isolate regardless of vaccination status or lack of symptoms||
Wearing a well-fitting mask is essential to protecting others through 10 days after your infection starts. For information on how to use masks most effectively, please refer to Get the Most out of Masking.
Note: this will only affect the general public but cannot be applied to covered workers due to current language in CalOSHA regulations.
Guidance & Resource Packet: Isolation & Close Contacts (3.16.23): English
(Translations coming soon)
Quarantine keeps a person who was in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 away from others.
In line with recommendations from California Department of Public Health, most individuals do not have to quarantine after an exposure to COVID-19. There are, however, steps people should take to reduce the risk of spread.
Close Contact & Quarantine Guidance
Changing conditions mean that quarantine (keeping exposed – but not yet symptomatic or known to be infected – individuals away from others) is now a less effective strategy for preventing the spread of COVID-19 outside of high-risk settings. The virus that causes COVID-19 has evolved to have a shorter incubation period (the time between exposure and becoming ill). The virus can also spread from person to person at greater distances, especially indoors. Tools such as testing and mask-wearing are still very important after an exposure to someone with COVID-19. If you develop symptoms, isolate immediately and test for COVID-19.
Staying up to date on vaccination continues to be the best way to prevent hospitalization or death from COVID-19. If someone who is at high-risk for severe disease becomes infected, there are prescription pills (and outpatient antibody infusions) available that provide protection against hospitalization and death. The costs of these medications are free, but they must be started within a few days after symptoms begin. Don’t wait until symptoms get worse.
If you believe you have been exposed to COVID-19, you are strongly encouraged to take the actions listed below to protect yourself and others. While you do not need to quarantine, consider avoiding people at high-risk for severe COVID-19 disease for 10 days such as: older adults, people living with chronic conditions, those with conditions that weaken their immune system, and people who are unvaccinated.
Persons Who Have Been Exposed to COVID-19 (Close Contact)
|If you have been exposed to another person who has COVID-19, you do NOT need to quarantine. If you have symptoms, please test immediately and follow isolation guidance if positive.
Guidance for Close Contact. Please see the following 1-page document for Close Contact guidance (2022.21.7): English | Arabic | Chinese (Traditional) | Dari | Farsi | Hindi | Khmer | Korean | Mongolian | Pashtu | Punjabi | Spanish | Tagalog | Tigrinya | Vietnamese
Wearing a well-fitting mask is essential to protecting others through 10 days after your infection starts or after your last exposure. For information on how to use masks most effectively, please refer to Get the Most out of Masking.
Frequently Asked Questions: Exposure to COVID-19 and Close Contacts of Someone with COVID-19 Infection
A person who is a close contact is at high risk for becoming infected with COVID-19. If they become infected, they might have symptoms or they might have no symptoms. If this happens, they could spread the virus to others, even without symptoms.
In large indoor spaces greater than 400,000 cubic feet per floor (such as open-floor-plan offices, warehouses, large retail stores, manufacturing, or food processing facilities), a close contact is defined as being within 6 feet of the infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period during the infected person's infectious period.
Additional Considerations for Settings Considered High-Risk for Severe COVID-19 Spread
- Please follow-up with your school to confirm your school’s guidance.
- Comprehensive Guidance – California State Department of Public Health (CDPH)
- Additional Resources – Alameda County Office of Education
- For additional information regarding schools & childcare guidance, please see: https://covid-19.acgov.org/schools
- Follow AFL 21-08 (or subsequent guidance from CDPH)
- Healthcare providers in other settings: Follow CDC Guidance
- Definition of other high-risk settings (CDPH): A high-risk setting is one in which transmission risk is high (e.g., setting with a large number of persons who may not receive the full protection from vaccination due to co-existing medical conditions), and populations at risk of more serious COVID-19 disease consequences including hospitalization, severe illness, and death.
- Employees and residents in these setting should follow recommendations from State Guidance
- In circumstances where State or Federal laws apply (including workplace safety regulations), Alameda County guidance, recommendations, and Health Officer Orders do not supersede, override, or modify those laws.
COVID-19 Treatments and Medicine:If you have or think you have COVID-19, there are prescription pills (and outpatient antibody infusions) available that can help reduce symptoms. They provide protection from hospitalization and death from COVID-19. The costs of these medications are free, but they must be started within a few days after symptoms begin. Don’t wait until symptoms get worse before talking with a healthcare provider.
- Please see our page on medications and treatment for COVID-19.
- If you have questions about COVID treatment options, please contact our Treatment Inquiries Line (510-268-2101 | firstname.lastname@example.org): English | Spanish | Traditional Chinese
Home Isolation and Close Contact Guidance Packets
Please follow the isolation and close contact guidance in the packet below for people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and their household or close contacts. The packet also includes resources. Note that you may be contacted by a member of the contact tracing team.
- Home Isolation and Close Contact Guidance Packets: (3/16/2023) English
More languages coming soon!