Isolation and Quarantine: What to Do If You Are Diagnosed With or Exposed to COVID-19

This page has been automatically translated from English. MSDH has not reviewed this translation and is not responsible for any inaccuracies.

If you have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, or if you may be ill with COVID-19, you must quarantine or isolate yourself.

Quarantine and isolation are important disease control steps to limit the spread of COVID-19.


Isolation keeps someone who tested positive for COVID-19 away from others.

You don't have to have symptoms to be isolated. Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 should isolate themselves at home, away from others you may live with.

As soon as you learn that you have COVID-19, stay home until:

  • At least 10 days have passed since your symptoms began (or since your positive test, if you have no symptoms), and

  • It has been at least 24 hours since you last had a fever, without using fever-reducing medication such as Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Advil (ibuprofen), and

  • Your symptoms have improved.

If you tested positive for COVID-19 but do not have symptoms:

  • Stay home until 10 days have passed since your positive test.

Do not go to work or into public until your isolation period ends. Remaining at home is important to prevent transmitting infection to others.

Isolation includes staying away from others in your home.

If you live with others, stay in a specific room or area reserved just for you. Stay away from other people or animals, including pets. Use a separate bathroom if available.

You do not need a negative test to end your isolation

After 10 days have passed since your positive test, or since the start of your symptoms, and you are fever-free with reduction in other symptoms, you may return to work and to other activities outside your home.


Quarantine keeps you away from others if you may have been exposed to COVID-19.

Close contact with someone who has COVID-19 indicates the need for quarantine at home. If you are a household member of someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, you must also quarantine at home.

If you have had close contact with someone who has COVID-19:

  • Stay home until at least 14 days from your last exposure to an infected person.

  • Check your temperature twice a day, and watch for symptoms of COVID-19.

  • Stay away as much as possible from those who could become very ill from COVID-19, such as older adults or those in poor health.

  • As long as you have no symptoms, you may leave home to go to your workplace if you are considered essential by your employer. You must wear a mask at all times while at work, and have your temperature and symptoms monitored by your employer. Do not attend social events or interact with others outside of your household for the duration of quarantine.

  • Consider getting testing for COVID-19, even if you do not have symptoms. Contact a testing provider near you, and let them know that you have been exposed. If your test is positive, follow the steps for isolation above. If your test is negative, continue your quarantine.
    Find a local COVID-19 testing provider »

Other Quarantine Options

While MSDH strongly encourages a full 14-day quarantine, especially for household contacts of an infected person or those in congregate living settings where someone is infected, the following alternative quarantine options may be followed.

  • 10-day quarantine: You can end quarantine after 10 days if you have checked for symptoms daily and had no symptoms during the entire 10-day period.

  • 7-day quarantine with test: If you have had no symptoms for 7 days and have had a negative PCR (not rapid) test within the last three days (collected on day 5, 6, or 7 of your quarantine period) you can discontinue quarantine after 7 days. Quarantine must last at least 7 days after exposure regardless of a negative test result.

If you choose either of these shorter quarantine options, you should continue to wear a mask while in public or at work, have your symptoms and temperature monitored, and keep at least six feet away from others for the full 14- day period.

COVID-19 spreads easily from people who are infected, but feel no symptoms. Protective measures for the full 14 days are important to control disease transmission even if you feel well and even if you have a negative test result.

Last reviewed on Jul 20, 2020
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Mississippi State Department of Health 570 East Woodrow Wilson Dr Jackson, MS 39216 866-HLTHY4U Contact and information

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