Accumulating evidence supports using a symptom-based strategy for ending isolation and precautions for persons with COVID-19. Specifically, researchers have reported that people with mild to moderate COVID-19 remain infectious no longer than 10 days after their symptoms began, and those with more severe illness or those who are severely immunocompromised remain infectious no longer than 20 days after their symptoms began.
If you think or know you’ve had COVID-19 and had symptoms, you can be with others after:
- At least 10 days* have passed since your symptoms first appeared and
- At least 24 hours have gone by without a fever and without the use of fever-reducing medication and
- Your symptoms have improved
For patients with severe illness or who are immunocompromised, the duration of isolation may be 20 days after symptom onset. If you have a severe COVID-19 case or are immunocompromised, consider consulting your healthcare provider or contacting an infectious disease expert at the health department for more information.
*A limited number of persons with severe illness may produce replication-competent virus beyond 10 days, that may warrant extending the duration of isolation for up to 20 days after symptom onset. Consider consultation with infection control experts. See Discontinuation of Transmission-Based Precautions and Disposition of Patients with COVID-19 in Healthcare Settings (Interim Guidance).
If you test positive for COVID-19 but had no symptoms, you can be with others after:
- At least 10 days have passed since the date of your first positive RT-PCR test for SARS-CoV-2 RNA
For Anyone Who Has Been Around a Person with COVID-19
It is important to remember that anyone who has close contact with someone with COVID-19 should stay home for 14 days after exposure based on the time it takes to develop illness.
A summary of current evidence and rationale for these changes is described in the Duration of Isolation and Precautions for Adults with COVID-19.