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After Exposure to COVID-19

If you have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, follow the guidelines below from the CDC.

Post-Exposure Precautions

Testing after Exposure

Post-Exposure COVID-19 Precautions

If you were exposed to COVID-19 or have been told by a healthcare provider or public health authority that you were exposed, here are the steps that you should take, regardless of your vaccination status or if you have had a previous infection. Learn how COVID-19 spreads and the factors that make risk of spread higher or lower.

What should I do after an exposure?

  • As soon as you find out you were exposed, start wearing a well-fitting mask around others inside your home or indoors in public for 10 full days after the exposure.
  • Test on Day 5, if possible; if you test positive you should begin isolation.
    • Day 0 is your last day of exposure.
  • Monitor for symptoms for 10 days after the exposure.

What does monitoring for symptoms mean?

  • Watch for fever, which means feeling feverish or having a measured temperature of 100.4 degrees F or higher.
  • If you take fever-reducing medication such as ibuprofen, wait 6 hours after taking your last dose before taking your temperature.
  • Watch for cough, shortness of breath and other COVID-19 symptoms.

What do I do if I develop symptoms?

If you develop symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell, you should:

Testing After Exposure

When should I get tested?

Get tested at least 5 full days after your last exposure to COVID-19, and test even if you don’t develop any symptoms.

If you test negative:

  • Continue taking precautions through day 10.
  • Wear a high-quality mask when around others at home and indoors in public.
  • You can still develop COVID-19 up to 10 days after you have been exposed.

If you test positive:

  • Isolate and take precautions including wearing a high-quality mask to protect others from getting infected.
  • Tell people you had recent contact with that they may have been exposed.
  • Monitor your symptoms.
  • Consider contacting a healthcare provider, community health center, or pharmacy to learn about treatment options that may be available to you. Treatment must be started within several days after you first develop symptoms to be effective.

What if I recently had COVID-19?

If you already had COVID-19 within the past 90 days, see specific testing recommendations. Reinfections can occur within 90 days, which can make it hard to know if a positive test indicates a new infection.

  • If your first positive test results was within 30 days or less:
    • If you have symptoms, use antigen tests. If negative, it may be necessary to test again in 48 hours.
    • If you do not have symptoms, testing is not recommended to detect a new infection.
  • If your first positive test results was within 31-90 days:
    • If you have symptoms or if you do not have symptoms, use antigen tests. If negative, it may be necessary to test again in 48 hours.

After a positive test result, you may continue to test positive for some time after. You may continue to test positive on antigen tests for a few weeks after your initial positive. You may continue to test positive on PCR/NAATs for up to 90 days. Consider consulting a healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns about your individual circumstances.

Additional Resources for Isolation & Post-Exposure COVID-19 Precautions

If you test positive for COVID-19, you may be eligible to receive free and potentially life-saving treatments. The key to effective treatment in most cases is to test early and begin treatment as soon as possible after any symptoms begin.