COVID-19 Isolation and Quarantine Guidelines for Employers

This informational document is intended to provide guidance to employees who have been exposed, or have a mild or suspected case of COVID-19. This is not intended for individuals who need to be hospitalized and cannot receive care at home. This document also contains information for household contacts (i.e., family members, roommates, intimate partners, and caregivers) of employees.

Isolation

What is Isolation?

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Separating individuals with COVID-19 from people who are not sick
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Individuals are separated for a period of time until they are no longer infectious

Guidelines for Employees or household contacts who have tested postive for COVID-19 or who have symptoms of COVID-19

Follow the steps below to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:

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Take care of yourself by getting rest and staying hydrated
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Stay home, except to get medical care
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Over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen, may help you feel better
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Avoid public areas, including work and school
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Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis
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Stay in touch with your healthcare provider and employer
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Separate yourself from other people
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Stay in a separate room and away from other people and pets in your home
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If possible, use a separate bathroom
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If you need to be around other people or animals, wear a cloth face covering
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Cover your nose and mouth
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If you are sick, wear a face covering when you are around other people or pets
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Use a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and throw away used tissues in a lined trash can
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Clean your hands often
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Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after being in a public place, blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, going to the bathroom, or before eating or preparing food
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If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol
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Avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth, and other people with unwashed hands
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Do not share
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Do not share dishes, cups/glasses, eating utensils, towels, bedding, or electronics with other people
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After using personal items, they should be washed thoroughly with soap and water or put in the dishwasher
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Clean all “high-touch” surfaces everyday
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Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces in your separate “sick room” and bathroom
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If possible, wear disposable gloves while cleaning
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Someone else should clean and disinfect surfaces in common areas
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If a caregiver or someone else needs to clean and disinfect, it should be done on an as-needed basis
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Caregivers should wear a face covering and disposable gloves
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Clean and disinfect areas that might have blood, stool, or bodily fluids on them
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Monitor your symptoms and seek medical attention if they get worse, or if you experience:
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Severe trouble breathing (such as being unable to talk without gasping for air)
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Continuous pain or pressure in your chest
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Feeling confused or having difficulty waking up
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Blue-colored lips or face
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Any other emergency signs or symptoms
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If you seek medical attention, be sure to call ahead before visiting the facility. This will help the facility keep other people from possibly getting infected or exposed.
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Tell any healthcare provider that you may have COVID-19
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Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis
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Put on a face covering before you enter any healthcare facility

Employees or household contacts with ​suspected or​ confirmed COVID-19 should remain under home isolation until the risk of spreading the disease to others is low. ​The decision to stop home isolation should be made in consultation with your healthcare provider and state and local health departments. You may be able to discontinue home isolation based on ​the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Please note that people who had severe illness from COVID-19 or people with a weakened immune system due to a health condition or medication may need to isolate longer than 10 days. Talk with your healthcare provider to determine when you can discontinue home isolation.

These recommendations should not be used as guidance about when to return to work after home isolation. The decision about when to return to work will be determined by you and your employer based on a number of factors. Please contact your employer for further information.

Quarantine

What is Quarantine?

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Separating individuals who may have been exposed to COVID-19 but haven’t been tested
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Individuals are separated for a period of time (14 days after possible exposure) to see if they develop symptoms

Guidelines for employees or household contacts without symptoms, who have not been tested for COVID-19, but may have been exposed.

If you have been potentially exposed to COVID-19, you should self-quarantine by staying home and limiting interaction with others for 14 days after ​the last​ possible exposure. It is important to follow quarantine guidelines in case you have the virus and can spread it to others. During this time period, you should monitor your symptoms closely to see if you get sick. The CDC has provided a 14-day temperature and symptom log​ ​that can be used to monitor your symptoms. Contact your employer and your healthcare provider right away if you develop symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 (such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath). If, after this period, you have still not developed any symptoms, follow-up with your employer for next steps around returning to work.

Information for household contacts

The below information is for individuals who live with a person who​: has been exposed or tested positive for COVID-19. This includes:

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Employees
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Family members
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Roommates
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Intimate contacts
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Caregivers

Employees or household contacts who are well but have a household member who has been exposed or diagnosed with COVID-19 should notify their employer right away. ​These individuals should also follow precautions recommended by the CDC:

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Continue to practice ​everyday preventive actions.
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Keep the sick or exposed person in a separate room from others in the household.
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If you are caring for a sick household member, ​follow recommended precautions​ and monitor your own health.
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Keep surfaces disinfected.
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Avoid sharing personal items.
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If you become sick, stay in contact with others by phone or email.
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Stay informed about the local outbreak situation.
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Notify your work if your schedule needs to change.
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Take care of the ​emotional health​ of your household members, including yourself.

If you have additional questions, please review our FAQ about COVID-19 testing and discuss any concerns with your employer, healthcare provider, or a health department official in your area.

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