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
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 higher 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.
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
- 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.
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.
- 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.