Isolation-QA Isolation Q&A

​​This Guidance is no longer in effect and is for historical purposes only.​​​​ For more information ​see the Respiratory Viruses page.​​

Isolation Q&A

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Prevent Exposures

What are the recommendations for households with an infected household member?

​​​An infected person who cannot separate from others in the home should mask when around others indoors for 10 days (or until the person has two sequential negative tests at least one day apart), AND

Household contacts without symptoms should:

  • Mask in the home to protect themselves when not separated from the infected person for 10 days.
  • Mask when indoors around uninfected people who are at higher risk for severe infection for 10 days. 

What are the testing recommendations for household contacts without symptoms?

Household contacts who were likely to have been exposed at the same time as the case should follow the recommendations in the CDPH Tests Q&A: Access to Testing​

What should persons do if they experience COVID-19 rebound, whether it occurs with or without antiviral medicine treatment?

For COVID-19 rebound (characterized by a recurrence of symptoms or a new positive viral test after having tested negative), persons should re-isolate and follow the recommended actions in the CDPH COVID-19 Isolation guidance.​

What should close contacts do if they develop symptoms but test negative? 

Close contacts who have COVID-19 symptoms should follow the CDPH Tests Q&A: Access to Testing, including repeating testing at least once as feasible.  

To prevent the spread of other infectious diseases, all people with respiratory symptoms should mask when indoors around others and minimize contact with others, particularly people at higher risk, at least until  fever has been resolved for at least one day and symptoms are mild and improving.

Close contacts in healthcare settings should follow recommendations as indicated in AFL 21-08.9.  Healthcare settings not covered by AFL 21-08.9 may follow the guidance outlined in AFL 21-08.9. 

Healthcare facilities should follow the guidance for management of infected or exposed patients/residents in the CDC COVID-19 Infection Control Guidance.   

What if a person needs to travel immediately after ending isolation?

  • ​Persons who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have symptoms should not travel until they meet criteria to end isolation. 
  • Travel is discouraged while symptomatic or infected, but if travel is unavoidable, persons should wear a well-fitting mask with good filtration when around others indoors and during travel for the entire 10 days. 
  • Travel on public transportation is discouraged if the person is unable to wear a mask or respirator when around others indoors for the full duration of the trip.  
  • Please refer to CDC's trave​​l guidancefor more information. 

Do persons who are exposed to an infected person in their home need to quarantine or be excluded from work?

Close contacts who do not have are symptoms regardless of vaccination status, do not need to quarantine or be excluded from work after exposure to an infected household member, but they are considered a high-risk contact with a much higher likelihood of infection and should more carefully follow all the recommended actions in the guidance, including getting tested if recommended (based on symptoms or risk of serious disease) and wearing a well-fitting mask indoors around others who may be at high-risk of serious disease, and around an infected person.  

What can a person who is higher risk for severe COVID-19 do to protect themselves?

Similar to other respiratory infections, take preventative measures to keep themselves safe when respiratory infections are circulating in the community. Stay up to date on recommended vaccines and talk with a healthcare provider about how best to protect themselves from severe illness. Consider wearing the most protective mask that fits well and that they will wear consistently when in indoor public spaces and on public transportation. The most protective masks are NIOSH-approved N95 respirators. KN95 and KN94 respirators can also offer good protection but are not as protective as N95s. Even if they are the only one wearing respiratory protection, it can still be protective. Additional steps can be found in the Respiratory Viruses Prevention website.​

When is a person up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines?

Most people are up to date after they get one updated Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or Novavax COVID-19 vaccine. Please reference the CDC​ for more details. ​

Other Settings 

Does this guidance apply to children in child care settings? 

Yes, children who test positive for COVID-19 should follow the recommendations included in the CDPH COVID-19 Isolation guidance; however, as per When and Why to Wear a Mask, children younger than 2 years of age should not wear a mask.  ​​​

Does this guidance apply to children in K-12 school settings?

​Yes, K-12 schools should refer to the CDPH COVID-19 Isolation guidance and should also consult the CDPH K-12 Schools Guidance for more information.  

Does this updated guidance apply to all persons in a workplace setting? 

In the workplace, employers are subject to the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Non-Emergency Regulations or in some workplaces the Cal/OSHA Aerosol Transmissible Diseases (ATD) Standard (PDF) and should consult those regulations for additional applicable requirements. In certain healthcare situations or settings and other covered facilities, services and operations, surgical masks (or higher filtration respirators) are required.  

For definitions of close contact, confirmed case, infectious period used for work exclusion, or outbreak referred to in the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Non-Emergency Regulations, refer to the State Public Health Officer Order for COVID-19 Disease Control and Prevention​

Additional information about how CDPH isolation guidance affects covered workplaces may be found in COVID-19 Prevention Non-Emergency Regulations FAQs.  

What is the definition of Healthcare Settings?

Healthcare settings refer to places where healthcare is delivered and include, but are not limited to, acute care facilities, long-term acute care facilities, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, skilled nursing facilities, home healthcare, vehicles where healthcare is delivered (e.g., mobile clinics), and outpatient facilities, such as dialysis centers, physician offices, dental offices, and others.   

Does this updated guidance apply to personnel in a healthcare setting?

Healthcare personnel (HCP) working in settings such as acute care hospitals​​, psychiatric hospitals and skilled nursing facilities (SNF) covered by AFL 21-08.9 should continue to follow the guidance outlined in AFL 21-08.9. HCP working in settings not covered by AFL 21-08.9 may also follow the guidance outlined in AFL 21-08.9.  Healthcare facilities should follow the guidance for exposed or infected patients/residents in the CDC COVID-19 Infection Control Guidance.

Other healthcare settings not covered by AFL 21-08.9 include, for example, outpatient clinics, free-standing urgent care facilities, dental clinics, pharmacies, infusion centers, behavioral health clinics, and school clinics.    

Should individuals in high-risk settings use the same isolation recommendations as the general public? 

Non-healthcare high-risk settings (for example, Adult and Senior Care Facilities, correctional ​facilities, homeless and emergency shelters, and warming/cooling centers) may consider following healthcare personnel recommendations, or may follow the isolation and exposure recommendations that are applicable to the general public, as detailed in the CDPH COVID-19 Isolation guidance depending on the population served and level of risk for severe disease.

Healthcare personnel should follow recommendations as set forth in  AFL 21-08.9.  Healthcare personnel working in settings not covered by AFL 21-08.9 may follow the guidance outlined in AFL 21-08.9.  Healthcare facilities should follow the guidance for isolation of infected residents in the CDC Infection Control Guidance. ​

Local Health Jurisdictions, facilities, or other organizations may continue to implement additional requirements that are more protective​​ than this statewide guidance based on local circumstances.

Does this guidance apply to outbreaks?

No, this guidance should not be used for outbreak management purposes. CDPH recommends consulting with the Local Health Jurisdiction for outbreak guidance.  For updated guidance for respiratory viral illness in Skilled Nursing Facilities, please see Recommendations for Prevention and Control of COVID-19, Influenza, and Other Respiratory Viral Infections in California Skilled Nursing Facilities – 2023-24.​

Workplaces covered under the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Non-Emergency Regulations should also consult those regulations for applicable outbreak management requirements.  ​​