WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE IN CLOSE CONTACT WITH COVID-19


This page is updated as needed, last updated on 08/01/22.

If you have had close contact with someone who has COVID-19, or is likely to have COVID-19, taking steps to protect yourself and others will help end this pandemic. Because you have been exposed to a virus that can easily spread to others, it is important that you follow the recommended guidelines referenced the County of San Diego Public Health Officer Order.

On this page you will find the Health Officer Order for Quarantine of Persons Exposed to COVID-19 that outlines the recommendations for close contacts, the Health Monitoring, Work Exclusion, or Quarantine Periods Calculator, and other resources available.

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  • What is a close contact?

    A close contact is someone sharing the same indoor airspace (i.e., home, clinic waiting room, or airplane), for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24 hours (e.g., exposed to three infected individuals, three 5-minute exposures, for a total of 15 minutes), during an infected person's laboratory-confirmed or clinically diagnosed infectious period.

    A person with COVID-19 is infectious starting 48 hours (2 days) before their symptoms began (for individuals who do not have symptoms, this is 48 hours (2 days) before their test was taken) until their isolation period ends.

Quarantine Guidance

General Public (No Quarantine)

Regardless of your COVID-19 vaccine status, if you do not have COVID-19 symptoms (asymptomatic), you do not need to quarantine. However, there are recommended actions:

  • Take a COVID-19 test (either PCR or antigen) 3-5 days after the last exposure.
  • Wear a well-fitted face covering for a total of 10 days after exposure, especially in indoor settings and when near those at higher risk for severe COVID-19.
  • Monitor your health for COVID-19 symptoms through day 10.

Note: People documented with COVID-19 infection within the previous 90 days do not need to be tested, quarantined, or excluded from work unless symptoms develop.

Vaccines offer the most protection against COVID-19. You are strongly encouraged to get the vaccine or booster(s). If you develop symptoms, wait to get a vaccine or booster(s) until your symptoms resolve. Learn more about getting a COVID-19 vaccine and find a COVID-19 vaccination site near you.

High-Risk Exposures and Settings (Work Exclusion or Quarantine)

High-Risk Exposures—Activities that may have a higher risk for spreading COVID-19, such as:

  • Being with a close partner and/or a household member,
  • Sharing an indoor space with longer periods of face-to-face contact,
  • Engaging in some unmasked activities like cheering at crowded events, playing contact sprots, or indoor group singing.

In such cases, exposed persons should be extra careful to take the recommend actions for the general public above.

High-Risk Settings—Places where there is a higher risk for spreading COVID-19 (e.g., a setting with many people who may not receive full protection from vaccination), and the people who are served are at risk for more serious COVID-19. In such cases, exposed persons should take extra care to follow recommended actions to decrease risk.
 

The following work exclusions are recommended for staff working in these settings to protect the populations served. Additionally, quarantine guidelines continue for patients, residents, and clients served in these settings:

  • Emergency shelters and cooling and heating centers
  • Healthcare settings
  • Prisons, jails, and detention centers
  • Homeless shelters
  • Long-term care settings and adult and senior care facilities

Table 1: Close Contacts—Specified High-Risk Settings

Persons Who are Exposed to Someone with COVID-19 (Work Exclusion/Quarantine) Recommended Actions
  • Unvaccinated OR 
  • Not up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccinations (Vaccinated and booster-eligible but have not yet received their booster dose).
Recommendations for staff:
  • Exclude from work for at least 5 days, after last exposure.
  • Work exclusion can end after day 5 if symptoms are not present and a COVID-19 test taken on day 5 or later is negative.
  • If unable to test or choosing not to test, and symptoms are not present, work exclusion can end after day 10.

Recommendations for residents:

  • Quarantine for at least 5 days after last exposure.
  • Quarantine can end after day 5 if symptoms are not present and a COVID-19 test taken on day 5 or later is negative.
  • If unable to test or choosing not to test, and symptoms are not present, quarantine can end after day 10.


Recommendations for BOTH staff and residents:

  • Follow the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) guidance for masking or face coverings. Close contacts should mask for 10 days following an exposure to someone with COVID-19, especially high-risk contacts.
  • Strongly encouraged to get vaccinated or boosted.
  • If symptoms develop, stay home and test as soon as possible, AND
  • If your test result is positive, follow isolation recommendations and visit our What To Do If You Have COVID-19 webpage.

NOTE: It is recommended that while not excluded from work, vaccinated and boosted healthcare personnel working in high-risk settings test immediately upon notification of exposure and at 3-5 days.

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  • What is considered fully vaccinated and up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccinations?

    You are considered fully vaccinated, when:

    • It has been 2 weeks after you received your final dose in a 2-dose series (Pfizer, Moderna, or Novavax), OR

    • It has been 2 weeks after you received your first dose in a single-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson/Janssen).
       

    You are considered up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccinations, when:

    • It has been at least 2 weeks since you received your second dose in a 2-dose series (Pfizer or Moderna) or after a single-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson/Janssen), AND

    • It has been more than 5 months since you received your second dose in a 2-dose series (Pfizer or Moderna) or more than 2 months from a single-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson/Janssen), and a booster shot has been administered. At this time, one booster is required to be considered up-to-date.
    • You are considered fully vaccinated AND up-to-date 2 weeks after your final dose in the primary series of the Novavax vaccine, since a booster is not recommended at this time for anyone who has completed the Novavax COVID-19 primary series.

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  • COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility for Moderately or Severely Immunocompromised People

    If you are moderately or severely immunocompromised (have a weakened immune system), you are at increased risk of severe COVID-19 illness and death. CDC recommends that you complete your primary series of COVID-19 vaccines if you are 5 years and older. If you are 12 years or older, get a booster. Because the immune response following COVID-19 vaccination may differ in people who are moderately or severely immunocompromised, specific guidance has been developed.

    Children Ages 5-11 Years Old

    Children ages 5 through 11 years who are moderately or severely immunocompromised should receive a primary series of 3 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. A booster is not recommended for this age group at this time.

    Table 1: Children Ages 5-11 Years Who Are Moderately or Severely Immunocompromised

    Children Ages 5-11 Years Who Are Moderately or Severely Immunocompromised

    Primary Series COVID-19 Vaccine Age Group Number of Doses to Complete Primary Series and Timing Booster and Timing
    Pfizer-BioNTech 5–11 years

    3 doses

    Time between 1st and 2nd dose:
    3 weeks (21 days)
    Time between 2nd and 3rd dose:
    at least 4 weeks (28 days)

    Not recommended

    People Ages 12 Years and Older

    People ages 12 years and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised should receive a total of 4 doses of COVID-19 vaccine.  The 4 doses are made up of a primary series of 3 doses of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, plus 1 booster of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (4th dose).

    Table 2: Pre-teens, Teens and Adults Who Are Moderately or Severely Immunocompromised

    Primary Series COVID-19 Vaccine Age Group Number of Doses to Complete Primary Series and Timing Booster and Timing
    Pfizer-BioNTech 12+ years

    3 doses

    Time between 1st and 2nd dose:
    3 weeks (21 days)
    Time between 2nd and 3rd dose:
    at least 4 weeks (28 days)

    1 booster

    Given at least 3 months after 3rd dose

    Moderna 18+ years

    3 doses

    Time between 1st and 2nd dose:
    4 weeks (28 days)
    Time between 2nd and 3rd dose:
    at least 4 weeks (28 days)

    1 booster

    Given at least 3 months after 3rd dose


    People Who Received Johnson & Johnson/Janssen Vaccine

    People ages 18 years and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised and received the 1 dose Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine should get a second dose of either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine (mRNA COVID-19 vaccines). They should also receive a booster—for a total of 3 doses.

    Table 3: People Who Are Moderately or Severely Immunocompromised and Have Received a J&J/Janssen Vaccine

    People Who Are Moderately or Severely Immunocompromised and Have Received a J&J/Janssen Vaccine
    Primary Series COVID-19 Vaccine Age Group Number of Doses to Complete Primary Series and Timing Booster and Timing
    J&J/Janssen 18+ years

    2 doses

    1st dose J&J/Janssen
    2nd dose Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna (mRNA COVID-19 vaccines) given at least 4 weeks (28 days) after 1st dose

    1 booster

    Either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna (mRNA COVID-19 vaccines) in most situations given at least 2 months after 2nd dose

    Note: Although mRNA vaccines are preferred for people 18 years and older, J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine may be considered in some situations.

Additional Guidance for Close Contacts

How to Calculate Health Monitoring, Work Exclusion, or Quarantine Periods

Quarantine and Health Monitoring Periods

For the general public follow the 10-day health monitoring calendar if you:

  • Are vaccinated, unvaccinated, or not fully vaccinated, AND
  • DO NOT have COVID-19 symptoms, OR
  • Tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days.

If you work or live in a high-risk setting, follow the 5-10 day work exclusion or quarantine calendar if you:

  • Are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated, OR
  • DO NOT have COVID-19 symptoms, AND
  • Have not tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days.

NOTE: If you live or work in a high-risk setting, are fully vaccinated or up-to-date with your vaccinations, OR you tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days AND DO NOT have symptoms, follow the 10-day health monitoring calendar and CDPH masking guidance.

Get customized information and guidance with CDC's COVID-19 Quarantine and Isolation Calculator.

Information About Isolation

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 or have tested positive for COVID-19, isolate immediately and read the official Health Officer Order (Isolation of All Persons with or Likely to have COVID-19) and Home Isolation Instructions, and visit the What To Do If You Have COVID-19 webpage.

Resources and Information

Teenage Boy Taking Covid Test
  • San Diego County provides FREE COVID-19 testing. Find testing locations near you. If you have further questions, contact your medical provider or 2-1-1 San Diego.

  • 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.
     
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that you get a COVID-19 vaccine to help prevent COVID-19. You will need to wait until after your home quarantine has ended. You can visit our COVID-19 Vaccine web page for more information or to schedule an appointment.

  • 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