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.

covid test graphic
  • Stay home and separate from others for at least 5* full days after start of symptoms (or after first positive test).
  • Monitor symptoms and follow healthcare provider instructions.
    • Rest, drink fluids, and use over-the-counter medicines for fever.
  • Wear a high-quality mask or respirator when around other people.
  • 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 COVID-19 infection:
    • 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 22-13.
  • Workplace Settings
  • Treatment for COVID-19

  • Information about Long COVID

  • Information for Close Contacts

After You Have Recovered from COVID-19


  • 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.