Why do we need to isolate and/or quarantine?

Isolation and quarantine help protect the public by preventing exposure to people who are sick or have been exposed to people who are sick. Generally, as long as the site is suitable, a person’s residence is the preferred setting for quarantine and isolation, according to the CDC.

If you have been instructed to isolate or quarantine and have any questions, please contact your local public health agency.


How do I isolate?

If you have tested positive for COVID-19, OR if you develop symptoms, follow these instructions. These instructions are for people who have been told to isolate or who are voluntarily isolating due to symptoms. A person’s residence is the preferred setting for isolation. Isolation or self-isolation includes people who: Have a positive COVID-19 test. Have symptoms of COVID-19: cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html. Are getting ill and think they might have COVID-19. Symptoms, especially early on, may be mild and feel like a common cold. Early symptoms could include a combination of cough, body aches, fatigue, and chest tightness. Some people may not develop fever... Read More


How long does isolation last?

You should be in isolation (stay away from others) until: You have had no fever for at least 24 hours (without using medicine that reduces fevers)AND other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved)AND At least 10 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared CDC: What to do if you are sick: cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html If you tested positive and have no symptoms, you should be in isolation for 10 days starting with the date of your positive test.  Health care workers may have to isolate for longer and should do what they are told... Read More


What else should I do?

Stay home, except to get medical care. If you have a medical appointment, call ahead and let them know you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or have COVID-19 symptoms, so the office can tell you what to do.  Do not go to work, school, or public areas. Avoid using public transportation, ride shares, or taxis.  Monitor your symptoms. People with mild illness may be able to isolate and recover at home without seeing a medical provider. If your symptoms worsen (e.g., difficulty breathing) or if you are in a higher risk group because you are older than 60 or have... Read More


How do I quarantine?

These instructions are for people who need to quarantine because they have been exposed to COVID-19. Exposure occurs when people have a household member or close contact who: Has a positive COVID-19 test. Has symptoms of COVID-19.  Is getting ill and thinks they might have COVID-19. Symptoms, especially early on, may be mild and feel like a common cold. Early symptoms could include a combination of cough, body aches, fatigue, and chest tightness. Some people may not develop a fever until several days into the illness. Read more about what counts as close contact here. Read more about the possibility of... Read More


What is quarantining?

Quarantining prevents the ongoing spread of the virus to other people by individuals who know they have been exposed or  are likely to have been exposed, but do not yet know if they have been infected. It’s a precaution and an effective tool to prevent viral spread since people infected with COVID-19 can be contagious even without having symptoms. Quarantining can be voluntary, and people should self-quarantine if they have a known exposure and do not know whether they have been infected.  Colorado also has the legal authority to issue quarantine orders to people who were exposed to a... Read More


How long should quarantining last?

Length of Quarantine Is testing required?  Who should use this option? 
14 Days NO People who have regular close contact with high risk individuals. This includes people who live or work in residential or congregate living facilities.*
10 Days NO This quarantine period is appropriate for most people who do not have contact with high risk individuals.
7 Days YES People who do not have contact with high risk individuals and have a negative test collected 48 hours before quarantine is discounted (on day 5 or later).

*The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recommends nursing homes use a 14-day quarantine period. During times of worker shortages, facilities may need to implement shorter or modified quarantine for critical infrastructure workers.

For 14 days after exposure, regardless of your quarantine length, you should:


What is the risk for each of the quarantine options?

  • Based on an analysis conducted by CDC scientists, if the person in quarantine is infected, ending quarantine at day 14 results in minimal (0.1%) risk that the person will transmit the virus to someone else. 
  • If quarantine is shortened to 10 days without testing, the risk of transmission after 10 days is 1 in 70 (1.4%). If quarantine is shortened to 7 days with testing performed 48 hours before the end of quarantine, the remaining risk is 1 in 19 (5.5%) if a rapid test is used and 1 in 25 (4.0%) if a PCR test is used.
  • Reducing the length of quarantine may make it easier for people to quarantine and is balanced against a small possibility of increasing the spread of the virus.