WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE COVID-19


This page is updated as needed, last updated on 1/19/22.

If you have been diagnosed with, or are likely to have COVID-19, taking steps to protect yourself and others will help end this pandemic. Because you have a virus that can easily spread to others, not only is it important that you separate yourself from others and self-isolate, it is also mandated by the County of San Diego Public Health Officer Order.

On this page you will find the Health Officer Order for Isolation of All Persons With or Likely to Have COVID-19 that outlines the legal mandate to isolate, instructions for home isolation, recommendations for close contacts, and resources available.  

Ending Home Isolation

These instructions are for all who test positive for COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status

If you have COVID-19 symptoms:

  • Stay home and isolate for at least 5* full days.
  • Take a diagnostic test** (either PCR or antigen) on day 5 or later. A  test is required to end isolation after day 5.

You may end your isolation after day 5 IF:

  • At least 24 hours have passed since your last fever (without the use of a fever-reducing medication) AND
  • Your symptoms are improving  AND
  • Your test result is negative for COVID-19.
  • Continue to wear a well-fitted face covering around others until at least day 10**.
  • If fever and other symptoms are not improving, or your test was positive, continue to isolate until symptoms resolve or until after day 10.

If you do not have COVID-19 symptoms (asymptomatic):

  • Stay home and isolate for at least 5* full days.
  • Take a diagnostic test** (either PCR or antigen) on day 5 or later. A test is required to end isolation after day 5.

You may end your isolation after day 5 IF:

  • Your test result is negative for COVID-19.
  • Continue to wear a well-fitted face covering around others until at least day 10**.
  • Monitor your health for symptoms of COVID-19. If symptoms occur, continue to isolate until symptoms improve. Follow the instructions above.

* Some people should isolate at home longer. This includes people who are 1) severely or critically ill or 2) who have very weak immune systems. Ask your healthcare provider for advice or if you are not sure if this applies to you.

** If you are unable to test or choose not to test again, if you are unable to wear a face covering around others, or if you cannot maintain a 6 feet distance from others, isolation can end after day 10.

Health care workers and those who live, work, or attend school in certain settings have different isolation recommendations. Please refer to the  Health Officer Order for Isolation of All Persons With or Likely to Have COVID-19 for current instructions. 

Information for Your Close Contacts

Please reach out to anyone you have had close contact with to let them know about their exposure to COVID-19 and the quarantine guidance recommended for them.

Here are the steps your close contacts need to take:

  1. Stay home and quarantine for at least 5 full days from the last time they had contact with you or with a person who tested positive for COVID-19. They should take a COVID-19 test.
    • If the test is negative and they have no symptoms, they can stop quarantine but must wear a face covering for an additional 5 days.
    • If they cannot test, choose not to test, or cannot wear a face covering, they must quarantine for a total of 10 days.

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  • What is a close contact?

    A “close contact” is anyone who was exposed to a person infected with COVID-19 while they were infectious.  You are considered to be infectious starting 48 hours/2 days before your symptoms began (for individuals who do not have symptoms, this is 48 hours/2 days before your test was taken) until your isolation period ends.

    Your close contacts include:

    1. Anyone who has been within 6 feet of you for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period while you were considered infectious.
    2. Anyone who had contact with your body fluids and/or secretions (such as people who were coughed on or sneezed on, shared utensils or saliva, or provided care to you without wearing protective equipment).

     


 

Notify close contacts

     2. Avoid contact with people at higher risk for severe illness.

     3. Watch closely for symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath.

     4. If they notice symptoms of COVID-19, they should follow the Home Isolation Instructions and get tested for COVID-19.


The County may provide post-exposure prophylaxis, based on the local situation and variant, for people who are eligible and have been in close contact with a person infected with COVID-19. Post-exposure prophylaxis can reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection, including preventing severe outcomes from COVID-19 such as hospitalization and death. Eligible close contacts include people who are not fully vaccinated for COVID-19 or are not expected to have an adequate immune response. Please talk with your health care provider to determine if you are eligible. See the Post-Exposure Prophylaxis handout for more information.

NOTE: If you have received the booster OR completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine within the last 5 months OR completed the primary series of J&J vaccine within the last 2 months AND do NOT have any COVID-19 symptoms: You may not need to quarantine. However, it is still required that you wear a face covering when around others for 10 days and test on day 5. The County Contact Tracing Team will follow up with the close contacts whose contact information you shared. They can answer any questions your close contacts may have.

Resources and Information

  • The County may provide FREE treatment for people who recently tested positive for COVID-19 and have symptoms OR to help prevent COVID-19 among people who have been exposed to COVID-19.

    Please talk to your doctor first to find out if you qualify for treatment.

    If you are 12 years old or older, you may qualify for treatment if:
    • You tested positive for COVID-19  AND
    • Your symptoms began within the last 10 days AND
    • You are at high risk of getting very sick from COVID-19.

For children under 12 years of age, treatment is only available at Rady Children’s Hospital through your pediatrician.

See the patient handout to learn more about free treatment. Call the MARC at (619) 685-2500 if you want to schedule an appointment if you meet eligibility criteria and cannot access treatment through a doctor. For questions, please email the MARC at COVIDtreatment@sdcounty.ca.gov.

Please do not go to the emergency department just to seek monoclonal antibody treatment, antiviral treatment, or COVID-19 testing. Our emergency departments are impacted by the surge of COVID-19 cases and should be reserved for people with emergency medical conditions.

Visit the County of San Diego Treatment for COVID-19 website for more information.

  • 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.

After You Have Recovered from COVID-19

  • Project SAVE is available for assistance with scheduling vaccine appointments. Project SAVE (Scheduling Assistance for Vaccine Equity) is a community partnership program for people who are unable to schedule appointments for reasons related to technology, language, or other challenges. For more information, see the Project SAVE handout or Proyecto SAVE (en Español).
  • We also encourage you and your family to get a flu vaccine to help prevent illnesses from the flu during the 2021-2022 flu season. Visit our Flu Vaccine Locations page to find a vaccine location near you!
Project SAVE