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Isolation Instructions for People with COVID-19



Call 1-833-540-0473 7 days a week, 8:00 am – 8:30 pm if you need assistance or help with resources.


In Los Angeles County, if you have COVID-19* you are required to:

*You are considered to have COVID-19, if you have a positive viral test for COVID-19 and/or a healthcare provider thinks that you have COVID-19.

Call the COVID Info line 1-833-540-0473 (open daily 8:00am–8:30pm) if you test positive for COVID-19 and have questions or need help. Call this number if you are experiencing homelessness and/or are unable to safely isolate or quarantine at home.

Help slow the spread of COVID-19 in LA County. If you get a call from “LA PublicHealth” or 1-833-641-0305 please answer the phone. If you get a text message from ‘Los Angeles County Department of Public Health’ with a link for an online interview, please complete it within 24 hours. (See Contact Tracing.)

ISOLATE: Stay home and away from others

If you have COVID-19, you must self-isolate regardless of vaccination status, previous infection, or lack of symptoms.

You must isolate for at least 10 full days unless you meet certain conditions. To see how long you need to isolate, click on the box below that best fits your situation.

Ending isolation:

Isolation can end after Day 5 ONLY if all of the following criteria are met:

  • You have a negative COVID-19 test** that was collected on Day 5 or later and
  • You have not had a fever for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicine and
  • Your symptoms are improving


Isolation can end after Day 10 if you have not had a fever for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicine.

If you do have a fever, continue isolation until 24 hours after your fever resolves.

However, if you have a condition that weakens your immune system or if you were severely ill with COVID-19 you might need to stay home for longer than 10 days. Talk to your doctor about when you can be around other people.

Day 0 is your first day of symptoms. Day 1 is the first full day after your symptoms developed.

*If your doctor initially thought your symptoms were due to COVID-19 (and you did not test positive for COVID-19) but they reassessed your diagnosis and decided that you are not infected, you can stop isolating after 24 hours of being fever-free. But if you are a close contact to a person with COVID-19 you must follow the instructions on the Instructions for Close Contacts webpage.

**The test must be an FDA-authorized COVID-19 viral test such as an antigen or NAAT/PCR test. It is better to use an antigen test because NAAT/PCR tests are more likely to stay positive after you are no longer infectious. Self-tests are acceptable, but if it is used for return to work the test must be observed or reported in a certain way. For more information check with your employer and see Cal-OSHA Testing FAQs.

Note: Employers may require their employees/contractors to complete the full 10 days of isolation before returning to work in person. Employees should discuss return to work with their employer. See Return to Work (Non-Healthcare) Summary Table.

COVID-19 Rebound
You may have COVID-19 rebound if your COVID-19 symptoms return or get worse after ending isolation. You should isolate away from others again. Isolation can end 5 days after your rebound began if you have been fever-free for at least 24 hours and your symptoms are improving. To protect others, wear a highly protective mask around others for at least 10 days after the start of your rebound. See COVID-19 Rebound FAQs. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms or if you have questions.

Isolation Instructions - How to protect others

  • Stay home except to get medical care.
    • Stay home. Do not go to work, school, or public areas. Only leave your place of isolation to get medical care and don't allow non-essential visitors.
    • If you must leave home to get needed medical care, wear a highly protective mask. Drive yourself, if possible. If you cannot drive yourself, sit in the back seat alone, leave the windows down, and you and your driver should wear a highly protective mask.
    • If someone from outside your household is shopping for you, ask them to leave the food and other supplies at your door, if possible. Pick them up after the person has left. If you need help finding free delivery services, social services, essential items like food and medicines call 2-1-1 or visit the Public Health resource webpage ph.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus/resources.htm.
  • Separate yourself from others in your home
    • Wear a highly protective mask (N95, KN95, KF94) or double mask (cloth mask over a medical mask) if you need to be in the same room as other household members. See below for more details.
    • Bring as much fresh air into your home as possible. Open windows and use fans to blow air out or use air purifiers to help clear out COVID-19 virus particles. See the California Department of Public Health’s Tips for Reducing COVID-19 Risk Indoors (flyer) and the CDC Improving Ventilation in Your Home webpage for more information.
    • Keep 6 feet away. If you have to share a room, try setting up the room so that you can stay 6 feet apart, if possible. It is important to stay away from people who are at higher risk of serious illness.
    • Use a separate bathroom. If this is not possible, disinfect the bathroom after use (see cleaning information below). If sharing a bathroom, open a window or turn on a fan and wait 30 minutes after the person with COVID-19 uses it.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes. Throw used tissues in a lined trash can after each use. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after you cough or sneeze.
  • Avoid sharing food or personal household items
    • Do not prepare or serve food to others, if possible. Be sure to wear a mask and wash your hands often if there is no one else to prepare and serve food.
    • Do not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, etc. with other people in your home.
    • Make sure to wash your dishes, drinking glasses, and eating utensils with soap and water after each use.
  • Clean your hands often
    • Wash your hands often, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; before eating or preparing food; and after touching your mask. Use soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • If soap and water are not available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub hands together for 30 seconds until they feel dry. Use soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
  • Clean and disinfect all “high touch” surfaces every day
    • Clean and disinfect high touch surfaces (e.g., counters, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones) routinely (at least once a day), especially if you must share spaces with other household members. Remove personal items from common areas and avoid sharing items.
    • Clean and disinfect any surfaces that may have body fluids on them.
    • Use household cleaning and disinfectant sprays or wipes. Be sure to follow the product label instructions.

Wear a highly protective mask

While you are in isolation, you must wear a highly protective mask if you need to be around others, including people you live with.

If you meet the criteria to leave isolation after Day 5, it is strongly recommended that you continue to wear a highly protective mask around others, especially through Day 10. Note: if you return to work after Day 5, you are required to wear a mask at the workplace for a total of 10 days after your positive test. See Return to Work (Non-Healthcare) Summary Table.

A highly protective mask is one that fits and filters well such as a well-fitting respirator (such as an N95 or KN95), a double mask (a cloth mask over a medical mask), a well-fitting medical mask, or well-fitting, high-filtration cloth (“reusable”) mask with a nose-wire. Well-fitting respirators provide the most protection. See ph.lacounty.gov/masks for more details about masks that offer the best protection.

Tell your close contacts they have been exposed

You must tell your close contacts that they could be infected. They must take steps to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 including masking, testing, and monitoring their health. Give them the instructions for close contacts. They are available in multiple languages at ph.lacounty.gov/covidcontacts. Your close contacts must follow the instructions even if they feel well or are fully vaccinated.

If you work or study in a setting where you could have gotten COVID-19 or passed it on to others, please tell your workplace or school so that they can advise others to test and to take any necessary precautions.

Definition of a Close Contact

A “close contact” is any person who shared the same indoor airspace with you for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period while you were infectious*.


  • Examples of indoor airspaces are homes, waiting rooms, airplanes. An example of ‘a total of 15 minutes or more’ is being in the same airspace with the person for 5 minutes at least 3 different times in 24 hours.

*You are considered to be infectious (meaning you can spread COVID-19 to others) starting 2 days before your symptoms began until your isolation ends. If you test positive for COVID-19 but do not have any symptoms, you are considered to be infectious from 2 days before your test was taken until your isolation ends.

Take care of your health

Home Care
Most people with COVID-19 have mild illness and can recover at home. Here are steps that you can take to help you get better:
  • Rest and drink plenty of fluids
  • Take over-the-counter medicine such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®) to reduce fever and pain. Note that children younger than age 2 should not be given any over-the-counter cold medications without first speaking with a doctor.
Seeking Medical Care

Stay in touch with your doctor and seek medical care if your symptoms get worse.

People who are at high-risk of getting very sick who get COVID-19 should talk to their doctor about medicine that could prevent serious illness. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and are age 50 years or older and/or have an underlying medical condition, call your doctor right away, even if your symptoms are mild. Don’t delay: the medicines work best when they are given as soon as possible after symptoms start. For more information, talk to your doctor and see the medication webpage.

Call 911 if there are emergency warning signs
Icon of exhausted person.
Icon of person experiencing chest pain
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Icon depicting a sick person

*depending on skin tone

People with emergency warning signs should call 911.  If it’s not urgent, call your doctor before visiting. You may be able to get advice by phone.

Dealing with Stress

COVID-19 and self-isolation are stressful for people. Visit the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health’s COVID-19 webpage and the 211LA webpage (211la.org/resources/subcategory/mental-health) for local resources to address mental health & wellbeing needs and concerns. In addition, guidance and resources, including information on crisis hotlines, are also available on the CDC webpage Coping with Stress.

LA County residents have free access to iPrevail.com, an online mental health resource to help with life's everyday stressors. After a short assessment, you are connected to customized support to meet your needs. Options include:

  • on-demand chat with trained Peer Coaches,
  • self-paced lessons on a variety of topics to improve wellbeing, and
  • community support groups
iPrevail is offered in English and Spanish and is available 24/7 from any smart device.

If you need to speak with someone about your mental health, contact your doctor or the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health Access Center 24/7 Helpline at 1-800-854-7771. If you need help finding healthcare, call the Los Angeles County Information line at 2-1-1. This number is available 24/7.

Contact tracing

Contact tracing is a simple, confidential process that is being used to help slow the spread of COVID-19. You can do your part by answering a few simple questions about the places you have been and the people you have been around while you were infectious.

  • If you get a call or text message from Public Health, it is important that you respond to us as soon as possible. It may show on your phone as “LA PublicHealth” or 1-833-641-0305. The text message will be from Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
    • If you get a call from Public Health, please answer to complete an interview.
    • If you get a text, please click the link to do an online interview or call the number to talk to a specialist.
  • Conversations with public health staff are confidential. This means any information you share will be kept private.
  • The people you tell Public Health about will be contacted but will not be told your name, contact information, or that you have COVID-19. They will not be told anything about you, just that they were exposed to COVID-19.
  • Public Health staff will answer any questions you may have and will also share helpful resources such as how to get a COVID-19 test, the best time to get a COVID-19 vaccine, or help finding a doctor.
  • To learn more about contact tracing, click here.

More information

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