Isolation and Quarantine Guidance

The guidelines determined by the CDC and Wisconsin Department of Public Health are based on evidence that suggests the majority of COVID transmission occurs early in the course of illness – generally 1-2 days prior to the onset of symptoms and during the 2-3 days after symptoms appear. An individual’s health condition may also put them at greater risk, so they should take extra precautions like wearing a mask or isolating longer than what current guidelines suggest.

Isolation

Isolation separates people who are infected with the COVID-19 virus away from those who are not infected. If you need to isolate, you should:

  • Stay home except to get medical care
  • Monitor your symptoms. If you have trouble breathing or other emergency warning signs, seek emergency medical care immediately.
  • Stay in a separate room and bathroom from other household members, if possible
  • Avoid contact with other members of the household and pets
  • Don’t share personal household items like cups, towels and utensils
  • Wear a well-fitted face mask around other people, if able

Quarantine

Quarantine means to keep someone who might have been exposed to the virus away from other individuals. If you need to quarantine, you should:

  • Stay home and monitor your health
  • Watch for fever (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit), cough, shortness of breath or other symptoms of COVID-19
  • If possible, stay away from people you live with, especially people who are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19
  • Wash your hands often and practice good hygiene

When to Isolate and When to Quarantine

Whether you should isolate or quarantine is based on several factors. Please refer to the following guidelines:

When to Isolate

Everyone who tests positive for COVID-19 regardless of vaccination status

  • Stay home for 5 days
  • If you have no symptoms or your symptoms are resolving after 5 days, you can leave your house
  • Continue to wear a well-fitted mask around others for 5 additional days
  • If unable to wear a well-fitted mask when around others, continue to isolate for 10 days
  • If you have a fever, continue to stay home until your fever resolves
  • Avoid people who are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe disease, and nursing homes and other high-risk settings, until after at least 10 days

You have active respiratory symptoms with a negative COVID-19 test

  • Stay in isolation while waiting for results
  • Continue protective measures while symptomatic to help keep yourself and others from getting sick
  • You could have been exposed to COVID-19 at some point and not enough time has passed for a test to pick it up. You may test positive at a later date
  • If another diagnosis is confirmed, follow instructions from your doctor and your state and local health departments

You have active respiratory symptoms and have not tested for COVID-19

  • Stay home for 5 days
  • If you have no symptoms or your symptoms are resolving after 5 days, you can leave your house
  • Continue to wear a well-fitted mask around others for 5 additional days
  • If unable to wear a well-fitted mask when around others, continue to isolate for 10 days
  • If you have a fever, continue to stay home until your fever resolves

When to Quarantine

You are a close contact with an individual (e.g., family, roommate) who is diagnosed with COVID-19 and you:

  • Have received your booster dose OR
  • Completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine within the last 6 months OR
  • Completed the primary series of J&J vaccine within the last 2months

Then you should:

  • Wear a well-fitted mask around others for 10 days since your last contact
  • If unable to wear a well-fitted mask when around others, continue to quarantine for 10 days
  • Limit contact with others to the extent possible
  • Test* on day 5, if possible
  • If you develop symptoms get a test and stay home

*Follow-up testing should be done through public health resources found on their website. Please do not contact your provider for asymptomatic testing.

You are a close contact with an individual (e.g., family, roommate) who is diagnosed with COVID-19 and you:

  • Are not vaccinated OR
  • Have NOT received your booster and:
    • It has been more than 6 months since you completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine OR
    • It has been more than 2 months since you completed the primary series of J&J vaccine

Then you should:

  • Stay home and quarantine for 5 days since your last contact. After that continue to wear a well-fitted mask around others for 5 additional days.
  • If unable to wear a well-fitted mask when around others, continue to quarantine for 10 days
  • If you can’t quarantine, you must wear a well-fitted mask around others for 10 days. We strongly recommend quarantine as the safest option to prevent the spread of COVID.
  • Test* on day 5, if possible
  • Daily symptom monitoring must continue for all individuals in quarantine through Day 10
  • Persons must be advised that if symptoms develop at any time, they should immediately self-isolate and contact the local public health authority or their healthcare provider to report this change in clinical status.

*Follow-up testing should be done through public health resources found on their website. Please do not contact your provider for asymptomatic testing.

Help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by following workplace and school guidelines, along with:

  • Wearing a well-fitted mask
  • Avoiding large gatherings
  • Staying 6 feet away from others
  • Washing hands often