COVID-19 Quarantine Guidance
If you are exposed, you should get tested, and may need to quarantine. People infected may have no symptoms but can still spread the disease to others.
Close contact exposure
You had a close contact exposure if you shared the same indoor airspace for 15 minutes spread over 24 hours with someone during their infectious period.
The start of person’s infectious period depends on whether they were symptomatic or they were asymptomatic but had a positive test.
- If symptomatic:
- 2 days before the infected person had any symptoms through Day 10 after symptoms first appeared (or through Day 5 if they tested out of isolation), and 24 hours have passed without fever, without use of fever-reducing medications, and symptoms have improved
- If symptomatic with a positive test:
- 2 days before the positive test was performed through Day 10 after positive test was performed (or through Day 5 if testing negative on Day 5 or later after positive test was first performed).
Who should quarantine
The rules for quarantine are the same for all, regardless of vaccination status.
Once exposed, if you test positive or have symptoms, isolate at home. If you neither have symptoms nor test positive, you don’t have to quarantine at home. Everyone* should:
- Wear a well-fitting mask around others for 10 days
- Test within 3-5 days after close contact exposure
- If unvaccinated or not yet boosted, it is strongly encouraged
- If symptoms develop, self-isolate and test as soon as possible AND if test result is positive, follow isolation guidance.
Some symptoms of COVID-19 include:
- fever (100.4°F)
- sore throat
- shortness of breath
- other symptoms of COVID-19
* Persons infected within the prior 90 days do not need to be tested, quarantined, or excluded from work unless symptoms develop.
High Risk Exposures
Certain exposure situations may be deemed a higher risk for transmission such as if the exposure was:
- With an intimate partner
- In a household with longer periods of exposure,
- Or while performing activities when not masked with increased exertion and/or projection or during prolonged close face to face contact particularly indoors
Certain close contact individuals may also be considered to have high risk exposure if that individual is:
- More likely to transmit the virus to those who are at higher risk for severed COVID-19
Individuals in this group should consider taking greater care in following recommendations and may consider quarantining or limiting their exposure to others.
The CDPH recommends specific work exclusion and quarantine in high-risk settings, places where transmission risk is high and populations served are at risk of more serious COVID-19 disease consequences including hospitalization, severe illness, and death.
These recommendations for patients, clients served and staff have been implemented to protect the populations served and are consistent with CDC recommendations. Review the State Isolation and Quarantine Guidance for more details.
Please see the Quarantine Health Order for more detailed instructions and for specific guidance for children with close contact with a case at school. Workers inquiring about return to work policies should speak directly with their employer.
- When to quarantine (CDC)
- City of Berkeley Quarantine and Isolation Health Orders
- CDPH Guidance for Isolation and Quarantine of the General Public
Last updated April 27, 2022