Quarantine and Isolation

Quarantine and isolation help prevent the spread of contagious diseases, such as COVID-19. Quarantine and isolation are used to keep people who are sick or who have been exposed to COVID-19 separate from people who have not been exposed.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidance regarding isolation time and quarantine guidance in December 2021. This updated guidance is listed below.

Quarantine and Isolation Guidance Banner

If you test positive for COVID-19

Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 should isolate at home and away from others for at least FIVE DAYS after testing positive. Isolation can only end once symptoms have resolved, which may take longer than the five-day minimum. Once isolation has ended, a mask should be worn around others for at least five days.

Guidance for those who have received a booster dose: 
(or have completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna in the last 5 months or the primary Johnson & Johnson vaccine within the last 2 months)

  • People in this category who have been exposed to COVID-19 are not required to quarantine. 
  • Wear a mask around others for 10 days
  • If possible, get a COVID-19 test on the fifth day after exposure
  • If you develop symptoms, get a test and stay home

Guidance for those who have NOT received a booster dose: 
(or have completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna more than 5 months ago or primary series of Johnson & Johnson more than 2 months ago, and have not received a booster dose, or are unvaccinated)

  • People in this category who have been exposed to COVID-19 should quarantine for 5 days 
  • After quarantine, wear a mask around others for 5 additional days
  • If it is not possible to quarantine, wear a mask around others for 10 days
  • If possible, get a COVID-19 test on the fifth day after exposure
  • If you develop symptoms, get a test and stay home
New Updated Quarantine Guidelines (3)

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between quarantine and isolation?

Quarantine is for people who are not currently sick but were likely exposed to COVID-19 from a COVID-19 positive individual. People in quarantine may or may not be infectious. Per CDC recommendations, the exposed individual needs to quarantine, which includes staying home*, staying away from others, and monitoring for symptoms. 

Isolation is for people who have tested positive for COVID-19. People who are in isolation should separate themselves from others living with them by staying in a specific “sick room” or area and using a separate bathroom if possible. They are required to stay home* and away from others until they meet release guidelines.

*Stay home except to seek medical care. Do not go to work, school or public areas.

Who is considered a close contact?

A close contact is defined as someone who comes within six feet of a COVID-19 positive individual for at least 15 cumulative minutes. Close contacts could be family members, friends and coworkers who you interact with throughout the day. A close contact also includes someone who has physically come in contact with someone, regardless of the amount of time.

Close contacts do not include infectious people who may walk past you at a place like the grocery store or gas station.

How does the Health Department handle contact tracing?

To meet the unprecedented demand for contact tracing, the Health Department has partnered with Virginia-based company Maximus Federal Services, Inc., to monitor individuals who have had close contact with a COVID-19 individual. This means you may not receive a call directly from a Health Department employee, but rather someone from Maximus, if you have been identified as a close contact.

You will NEVER be asked for:

  • Your social security number (SSN)
  • Financial information, including credit card and checking account information
  • Personal information not related to your symptoms for the exception of your name, address, date of birth, phone number and email address

What are the COVID-19 symptoms?

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever (100.4 degrees) or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

What is the difference between COVID-19 and the flu?

Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a new coronavirus (called SARS-CoV-2), and flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses.

COVID-19 seems to spread more easily than flu and causes more serious illnesses in some people. It can also take longer before people show symptoms and people can be contagious for longer. More information about differences between flu and COVID-19 is available in the different sections below.

Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, and testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis.

How do I get a Release From Isolation letter?

Due to the volume of COVID-19 cases in Greene County, the Health Department will no longer create personalized release from isolation letters for patients to provide employers, schools, etc. Those needing documentation to show that they are able to be release from isolation should click here for our Criteria for Release from Isolation memo. If additional information related to your personal situation is needed, please consult with your primary care physician.