If You Are a Close Contact

Page last updated/reviewed 01/26/2024.

What is a close contact?

A close contact is defined as:

  • In indoor spaces of 400,000 or fewer cubic feet per floor (such as homes, clinic waiting rooms, airplanes, etc.), sharing the same indoor airspace for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period (for example, three individual 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes) during a confirmed case's infectious period.
  • In large indoor spaces greater than 400,000 cubic feet per floor (such as open-floor-plan offices, warehouses, large retail stores, manufacturing, or food processing facilities), being within 6 feet of the infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period during the confirmed case's infectious period.

Spaces that are separated by floor-to-ceiling walls (e.g., offices, suites, rooms, waiting areas, bathrooms, or break or eating areas that are separated by floor-to-ceiling walls) must be considered distinct indoor airspaces.

Recommendations for Close Contacts

  • If you have new COVID-19 symptoms, you should test and mask right away.   
    • If you have COVID-19 symptoms and test negative on an antigen test, you should test again at least a day later (note that antigen tests in infected people may not be positive right away even if symptoms are present). If you have a negative result on the second test and still concerned that you may have COVID-19, consider antigen testing again at least another day later after the second test (for a total of 3 tests), OR getting a laboratory-based molecular test (such as NAAT/PCR).
  • If you do not have symptoms, and are at higher risk of severe COVID-19 infection and would benefit from treatment, you should test within 5 days and prior to contact with high​​er risk people.

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.

Additional Recommendations

  • For healthcare personnel (HCP) working in settings such as acute care hospitals​​, psychiatric hospitals and skilled nursing facilities (SNF) covered by AFL 21-08.9 should continue to follow the guidance outlined in AFL 21-08.9. HCP working in settings not covered by AFL 21-08.9 may also follow the guidance outlined in AFL 21-08.9. Healthcare facilities should follow the guidance for exposed or infected patients/residents in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 Infection Control Guidance
    •  Other healthcare settings not covered by AFL 21-08.9 include, for example, outpatient clinics, free-standing urgent care facilities, dental clinics, pharmacies, infusion centers, behavioral health clinics, and school clinics.    
  • High-Risk Settings: Non-healthcare high-risk settings (for example, Adult and Senior Care Facilities, correctional ​facilities, homeless and emergency shelters, and warming/cooling centers) may consider following healthcare personnel recommendations, or may follow the isolation and exposure recommendations that are applicable to the general public, as detailed in the California Department of Public Health COVID-19 Isolation Guidance depending on the population served and level of risk for severe disease.
  • For guidance on the management of infected and exposed people in K–12 school and child care settings, see the Guidance for K-12 Schools and Child Care Settings to Mitigate the Spread of Communicable Disease, 2023 -2024 School Year.  

High-Risk Settings (Work Exclusion or Quarantine)

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.


Teenage Boy Taking Covid Test
  • Get customized information and guidance with the CDC COVID-19 Isolation and Exposure Calculator.
  • There are a number of ways you can test to see if you have COVID-19. Contact your healthcare provider, visit your local drug store, or find a testing site in your community.
  • 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.
  • 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.