COVID-19 can easily spread between people who are in close contact with one another. To help slow the spread of COVID-19, protect vulnerable individuals, and prevent the health care system in the Sonoma County from being overwhelmed, it is necessary for people who have been infected to isolate, and for people who have been exposed to a person who has an active COVID-19 infection to quarantine.
- Exposure – Contact with someone infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in a way that increases the likelihood of getting infected with the virus.
- Close Contact – Someone who was less than six feet away from an infected person (laboratory-confirmed or a clinical diagnosis) for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period (for example, three individual five-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes).
- Isolation – Isolation is used to separate people with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 from those without COVID-19. People who are in isolation should stay home until it is safe for them to be around others.
- Quarantine – Quarantine is a strategy used to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 by keeping people who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 apart from others.
If you develop any of these symptoms while you are in quarantine, schedule an appointment to get tested. Symptoms include: fever, headache, dry cough, muscle aches, loss of smell or taste, sore throat, chills, runny nose, nausea, diarrhea, and shortness of breath.
Who should quarantine?
According to the latest CDPH guidance, you should quarantine if you come into close contact with someone with COVID-19 and if you are in one of the following groups:
- You are age 12 or older and completed the primary series of recommended vaccine, but, if eligible, you have not received a recommended booster shot.
- You received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine more than two months ago but have not received a recommended booster shot.
- You have not completed a primary vaccine series.
If you are exposed to someone with COVID-19 and are unvaccinated OR vaccinated but have not yet received your booster dose even though you are booster-eligible OR were previously infected with COVID-19 within the last 90 days, it is recommended that you:
- Stay at home for at least five days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19.
- Test on day five.
- Quarantine can end after day five if symptoms are not present and a test collected on day five or later is negative.
- If unable to test or choosing not to test, and symptoms are not present, quarantine can end after day 10.
- Wear a well-fitted mask around others for a total of 10 days, especially in indoor settings
- If positive, you must isolate (See instructions below.)
If you are exposed to someone with COVID-19 and are boosted OR vaccinated but not yet booster-eligible, you:
- Do NOT need to quarantine unless you have symptoms.
- Test on day five. If positive, you must isolate (See instructions below.)
- Wear a well-fitted mask around others for 10 days, especially in indoor settings
Who should isolate?
Everyone who tests positive for COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, previous infection or lack of symptoms, must isolate themselves by following these recommended steps:
- Stay home for at least five days (day one is the first day after symptom onset or date of positive test if you have no symptoms.)
- Isolation can end after day five if symptoms are not present or are resolving and a test (antigen preferred) on day five or later is negative
- If you are unable or choose not to test and symptoms are not present or resolving, isolation can end after day 10.
- If fever is present, isolation should be continued until fever resolves.
- If symptoms, other than fever, are not resolving continue to isolate until symptoms are resolving or until after day 10.
- Wear a well-fitted mask around others for a total of 10 days, especially in indoor settings.
How can you take care of yourself?
- Monitor your symptoms.
- Drink plenty of fluids and stay hydrated.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Treat yourself with over-the-counter remedies to reduce your symptoms.
- Ask friends or loved ones to help. Here’s how they can help:
- Leave food and drinks at your door.
- Get you medicine to relieve symptoms.
- Help care for children, parents or other dependents.
- Help care for your pets.
- If friends and family come to help, remind them to wear a face covering and wash their hands.
- Call 9-1-1 if you have a life-threatening emergency. Contact your health care provider if you have difficulty breathing, trouble keeping fluids down, dehydration, confusion, persistent pain or pressure in the chest or any other severe symptoms that cause you concern. If you need an ambulance, tell the paramedics you are isolating due to COVID-19.
How can you help protect others?
- Notify close contacts (people in your home, intimate partners, caregivers and others with whom you have been in close contact recently). Tell them that they may have been exposed to COVID-19 and they need to get tested.
- Stay in a separate room from other household members, if possible.
- Use a separate bathroom, if possible.
- Take steps to improve ventilation at home, if possible.
- Avoid contact with other members of the household and pets.
- Do not share personal household items such as cups, towels and utensils. Wear a well-fitted mask when you need to be around other people.
Ending isolation for people who were severely ill with COVID-19 or have a weakened immune system (immunocompromised)
People who are severely ill with COVID-19 (including those who were hospitalized or required intensive care or ventilation support) and people with compromised immune systems might need to isolate at home longer. Consult with your health care provider about when you can resume being around other people.
People who are immunocompromised should talk to their health care provider about the potential for reduced immune responses to COVID-19 vaccines and the need to continue to follow current prevention measures (including wearing a well-fitted mask, staying six feet apart from others they don’t live with, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces) to protect themselves against COVID-19 until advised otherwise by their health care provider. Close contacts of immunocompromised people – including household members – should also be encouraged to receive all recommended COVID-19 vaccine doses to help protect these people.
Guidance and information applying to both isolation and quarantine
- Stay at home except to get medical care.
- Separate yourself from other people in your home. Do not have any visitors.
- Wear a mask over your nose and mouth in indoor settings, including at home, especially if immunocompromised or around those who are immunocompromised, unvaccinated, or at risk for severe disease.
- Avoid sharing rooms/spaces with others; if not possible, open windows to outdoor air (if safe to do so) to improve ventilation or use portable air cleaners and exhaust fans.
- Avoid using the same bathroom as others; if not possible, clean and disinfect after use.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or if you cannot wash your hands, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Clean or disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
- Monitor your symptoms.
- If you have symptoms or are sick, you should stay away from others even if they have some protection by having been previously infected in the past three months or by being fully vaccinated.
Resources for quarantine and isolation
- If you need help to stay in quarantine, we can help connect you with services to support you and your family when you have to stay home.
- Call 2-1-1 or text your zip code to 211-211 to talk/text with 2-1-1 staff 24/7 or call our hotline at (707) 565-4667
- Resources are available regardless of immigration status.
- If you are a case or have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 and have additional questions or need support, you can call the COVID-19 Hotline to find out about potential resources for quarantining: (707) 565-4667.
- Your information is strictly confidential and will not be shared with other governmental agencies or immigration officials.