What does it mean to self-quarantine?
If you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 or tested positive, your doctor will ask that you self-quarantine. Follow these steps to prevent spreading the disease to others.
Stay home except for medical care
Don’t leave your home unless you’re seeking medical care. Don’t go to work, school or public areas. Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing services or taxis.
Separate yourself from other people and pets
- People: As much as possible, stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home. Use a separate bathroom, if you can.
- Animals: Don’t touch your pets or other animals. Have another member of your household care for your pets during this time.
Call ahead before visiting your doctor
If you have a medical appointment, call your doctor’s office and inform them that you have or may have COVID-19. They will give you instructions on what you should do.
Wear a face mask
Wear a face mask when you are around other people, such as sharing a room or car, around pets and before entering your doctor’s office.
Cover your coughs and sneezes
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw used tissues in a lined trash can. Immediately wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Avoid sharing personal household items
Don’t share dishes, glasses, cups, silverware, towels or bedding with other people or pets in your home. After using these items, wash them thoroughly with soap and water or detergent.
Wash your hands
Wash your hands often, especially after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food. Use soap and water and wash for at least 20 seconds – this is about the time it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands, including between your fingers, and rub your hands together until they feel dry. Use soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth if you haven't washed your hands.
Clean all “high-touch” surfaces every day
High-touch surfaces include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and bedside tables. Clean any surfaces that may have blood, stool or body fluids on them. Use a household cleaning spray or wipe. The label contains directions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product, such as wearing gloves and making sure the room has good airflow.
Monitor your symptoms
See your doctor if your illness gets worse — for example, you find it hard to breathe.
Before seeking care, call your doctor’s office and inform them that you have or may have COVID-19. Put on a face mask before entering the building. These steps will help prevent the spread of infection.
If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, inform them that you have or may have COVID-19. If possible, put on a face mask before the ambulance arrives.
Ending home isolation
Continue home quarantine until your doctor believes your risk of spreading the virus is low. Your doctor will make this decision in consultation with your state and local health departments. Be aware that you may receive calls or visits from the state health department during your quarantine.