If You Are Sick
Page last updated/reviewed 10/26/2023.
If you have, or are likely to have, COVID-19, take steps to protect yourself and others. If you have any emergency warning signs, seek emergency care immediately.
- Stay home and separate from others for at least 5* full days after start of symptoms (or after first positive test).
- Improve ventilation (air flow) at home to help prevent COVID-19 from spread to other people.
- Monitor symptoms and follow healthcare provider
- Rest, drink fluids, and use over-the-counter medicines for fever.
- Wear a high-quality mask or respirator when around other
- For more information, visit the Face Coverings page.
- Practice everyday hygiene and cleaning.
- Avoid sharing personal household items.
- Wash your hands often.
- Cover coughs and sneezes.
- Do not travel, and/or go to a place where you are unable to wear a mask.
On March 3, 2023, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH)
announced updates to several state public health officer orders that
have guided Californians on how to best protect themselves and their
families throughout the pandemic. Effective March 13, 2023
- CDPH updated the definition of infectious period in alignment with updated recommendations regarding isolation of persons infected with COVID-19.
- Included definition of confirmed case.
Infectious period is defined as:
- For symptomatic confirmed cases, 2 days before the confirmed case had any symptoms (symptom onset date is Day 0) through Days 5-10 after symptoms first appeared AND 24 hours have passed with no fever, without the use of fever-reducing medications, and symptoms have improved, OR
- For asymptomatic confirmed cases, 2 days before the positive specimen collection date (collection date is Day 0) through Day 5 after positive specimen collection date for their first positive COVID-19 test.
- For the purposes of identifying close contacts and exposures, symptomatic and asymptomatic infected persons who end isolation in accordance with this guidance and are no longer considered to be within their infectious period. Such persons should continue to follow CDPH isolation recommendations, including wearing a well-fitting face mask through Day 10.
Confirmed case is defined as:
- A person who has received a positive result of the presence of SARS-CoV-2 virus as confirmed by a COVID-19 viral test or clinical diagnosis.
See below, or click the following links, for more information:
Home Isolation Instructions for COVID-19
- Isolation Instructions
These instructions are for everyone who tests positive for
COVID-19, regardless of their vaccination status or previous
- If you had no symptoms: You may end isolation after day 5.
If you had symptoms and:
- Your symptoms are improving: You may end isolation after day 5 if you are fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication).
If you had symptoms and:
- Your symptoms are not improving: Continue to isolate until you are fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication), or your symptoms are improving.
- Had moderate illness (you experienced shortness of breath or had difficulty breathing): Isolate through day 10.
- Had severe illness (you were hospitalized) and have a weakened immune system: Isolate through day 10.
- Consult your doctor before ending isolation. Ending isolation without a viral test may not be an option for you.
- Removing your mask: After you have ended isolation and are feeling better (no fever without the use of fever-reducing medication), wear your mask through day 10, OR if you have access to antigen tests, consider using them. With 2 sequential negative tests 48 hours apart, you may remove your mask sooner than day 10.
- This guidance does NOT apply to healthcare
personnel in settings covered by AFL
21-08.9. It also does not apply to Emergency Medical
Services personnel, who are permitted to follow the Guidance on
Isolation and Quarantine for Health Care Personnel in AFL
21-08.9. California Department of Public Health (CDPH)
guidance for isolation and quarantine of Skilled Nursing
Facility residents is specific in AFL
- In the workplace, employers are subject to the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Non-Emergency Regulations or in some workplaces the Cal/OSHA Aerosol Transmissible Diseases (ATD) Standard (PDF) and should consult those regulations for additional applicable requirements. In certain healthcare situations or settings and other covered facilities, services and operations, surgical masks (or higher filtration masks) are required.
- Additional information about how CDPH isolation and
quarantine guidance affects covered workplaces may be found
Prevention Non-Emergency Regulations FAQs.
Treatment for COVID-19
Information about Long COVID
Information for Close Contacts
After You Have Recovered from COVID-19
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you get a COVID-19 vaccine after you have recovered from COVID-19. You will need to wait until after your home isolation has ended.
- The flu vaccine is also encouraged to help prevent illnesses during the flu season. Visit the Flu Vaccine Locations page to find a vaccine location near you!
- Get customized information and guidance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 Isolation and Exposure Calculator.
- If you test
positive and are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19, treatments are
available that can reduce your chances of being hospitalized or
dying from the disease.
- Call SesameCare at (888) 897-1244 to schedule a no-cost telehealth visit, which includes a prescription for treatment with Paxlovid for those who are eligible.
- Many resources are available through 2-1-1 San Diego for people who have been affected by COVID-19, including the County Emergency Rental and Utilities Assistance Program as well as other resources. Call 2-1-1 or visit the 2-1-1 San Diego website for more information.
- Resources from the federal government, like free masks, treatment options, vaccines, at-home testing kits, and guidance are available to keep yourself and others safe from COVID-19. Visit COVID.gov or call 1-800-232-0233 for more information.