Coronavirus Disease 2019

Home Isolation Instructions for People with COVID-19


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

*You are considered to have (or likely to have) COVID-19, if you have a positive diagnostic (swab or saliva) test for COVID-19 and/or were told by a doctor that you are likely to have COVID-19 and/or you have symptoms that are consistent with COVID-19 (fever, cough, or shortness of breath).

Please help slow the spread of COVID-19 by answering if you get a call from “LA PublicHealth” or 1-833-641-0305 (see Contact Tracing).

ISOLATE: Stay home

You must stay home and separate yourself from others until your home isolation ends.
When Does My Home Isolation End?

If you had symptoms, you must stay home until:

  • At least 10 days* have passed since your symptoms first started and
  • You have had no fever for at least 24 hours (without the use of medicine that reduces fevers) and
  • Your symptoms have improved (for example, cough or shortness of breath)

If you tested positive for COVID-19 but never had any symptoms:

  • You must stay home for 10 days after the test was taken, but
  • If you develop symptoms, you need to follow the instructions above

*If you have a condition that severely weakens your immune system you might need to stay home for longer than 10 days. Talk to your healthcare provider for more information.

  • Stay away from household members.
  • Do not go to work, school, or public areas.
  • If you must leave home to get essential medical care, drive yourself, if possible. If you cannot drive yourself, keep as much distance as possible between you and the driver and others (e.g. sit in the back seat), leave the windows down, and wear a mask, if possible. If you do not have a mask, wear a cloth face covering (see below).
  • 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
Ending Isolation and returning to work or school
  • When your home isolation ends (see box above) you can go back to your usual activities, including returning to work and/or school.
  • Continue to practice physical distancing (stay 6 feet away from others) and to wear a cloth face covering when you are in public settings where other people are present.
  • You do not need to have a negative test or a letter from Public Health to return to work or school.

QUARANTINE: Tell your close contacts that they need to quarantine

Your close contacts need to know that they could be infected and need to quarantine for 14 days after their last contact with you. Give them the home quarantine instructions. They are available in multiple languages at Your close contacts must quarantine even if they feel well.

Definition of a Close Contact

A “close contact” is any of the following people who were exposed to you while you were infectious*:

  1. Any person who was within 6 feet of you for more than 15 minutes
  2. Any person who had unprotected contact with your body fluids and/or secretions. For example, you coughed or sneezed on them, you shared utensils, a cup, or saliva with them, or they cared for you without wearing appropriate protective equipment.

*You are considered to be infectious (you can spread COVID-19 to others) from 2 days before your symptoms first appeared until your home isolation ends. If you tested positive for COVID-19 but never had any symptoms, you are considered to be infectious from 2 days before your test was taken until 10 days after your test.


For information on caring for children with symptoms of COVID-19, see Guidance for the Care of Children with Symptoms of COVID-19.

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.
  • Make a note of when your symptoms started and continue to monitor your health.
Seeking Medical Care

Stay in touch with your doctor and seek medical care if your symptoms get worse. If you are age 65 years or older or have an underlying medical condition it is especially important to call your doctor as you may be at a higher risk of serious illness.

Call 911 if there are emergency warning signs

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.

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.


Follow the steps below to help prevent the disease from spreading to others in your home and your community.

Separate yourself from others in your home
  • If you need to be in the same room as other people, set it up 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).
  • Open windows or use a fan or an air conditioner in shared spaces in the home.
  • Do not allow non-essential visitors.
  • Do not handle pets or other animals.
    Anyone who continues to be in close contact with you will need to stay in quarantine for longer (see home quarantine instructions).
Wear a facemask or cloth face cover when you are around others
  • Wear a disposable facemask when you are around other people. If you do not have a facemask, wear a cloth face cover. Do not use either if you have trouble breathing, or are unable to remove it without help, or you have been told not to wear one by a medical provider.
  • If you are not able to wear a facemask or face cover, then people who live with you should avoid being in the same room with you. If they must enter the room you are in, they should wear a facemask (or if they don’t have one, a cloth face covering). After leaving the room, they should immediately clean their hands, then remove and dispose of their facemask, and clean their hands again.
  • Use masks and face coverings with caution with children. Infants and children under 2 should not wear cloth face coverings. Those between the ages of 2 and 8 should use them under adult supervision to ensure that the child can breathe safely and avoid choking or suffocation.
  • See Guidance for Cloth Facing Coverings for more information.
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 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.
  • Do not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets 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 face mask or cover. 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, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables.
  • 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.
  • If caregivers and household contacts clean or come into contact with your body fluids or secretions (such as sweat, saliva, sputum, nasal mucus, vomit, urine, or diarrhea) they should wear a disposable facemask and gloves. After cleaning, they should remove and dispose of their gloves first, clean their hands, then remove and dispose of their facemask, and clean their hands again.

See cleaning instructions in Preventing the spread of respiratory illness in the home and FAQs for Caregivers.


Contact tracing is a simple, confidential process that is being used to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
  • If you test positive for COVID-19, you will receive a call from a public health specialist. Please do your part by taking the call and answering some questions about the places you have been and the people you have been around while you were infectious.
  • The people you tell the specialist about will be contacted and asked to stay home to help prevent others from getting sick. They will not be told your name or contact information. The specialist will also answer any questions you may have and share information about services.
  • If you tested positive but have not gotten a call yet please call 1-833-540-0473 from 8 AM to 8:30 PM, 7 days a week.
  • To learn more about contact tracing, click here.


  • For more information on COVID-19 and to view the resources mentioned above in multiple languages, visit
  • For help finding free delivery services, social services, essential items like food and medicines,  visit or call 2-1-1 (which is available 24/7).
  • Please call your health care provider for any questions related to your health. If you need help finding a health care provider, call 2-1-1.

Updated 7-29-20 and Reformatted 9-16-20

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  • Public Health has made reasonable efforts to provide accurate translation. However, no computerized translation is perfect and is not intended to replace traditional translation methods. If questions arise concerning the accuracy of the information, please refer to the English edition of the website, which is the official version.

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