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Isolation-For those who are diagnosed with COVID-19

Isolation: separating an individual who has symptoms or has been diagnosed with COVID-19 from people who are not sick. Separating them from others prevents healthy individuals from being exposed and becoming sick as well.

  • For more information about isolation, see the Isolation and Quarantine page by Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. 

To report results from rapid at-home COVID-19 tests, please visit this page.

Quarantine-For those who have been exposed to COVID-19

Quarantine: 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.

  • For more information about quarantining, see the Isolation and Quarantine page by the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment.

Calculating an Isolation or Quarantine Period

The following tool from the CDC can assist with calculating the length of time you should isolate or quarantine. Select "get started" to access the calculator. 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

It can be hard to tell if symptoms are from COVID-19 vs. from other respiratory diseases like the flu or a cold. Generally, if someone has at least two minor symptoms like a fever, chills, muscle aches, or headache, or have one major symptom like a cough, shortness of breath, or loss of taste or smell and we know they came into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, this would be considered a probable COVID-19 infection and you should isolate. 

We recommend that anyone who has COVID-like symptoms get tested. Many local healthcare providers can test if someone has symptoms and there are many community testing sites available for those who do not have a healthcare provider locally.

If you receive a negative molecular test (not an antigen or at-home test) after being determined to be a probable case, then you may be asked to discontinue isolation protocols and follow quarantine protocols based on your recent exposure.

It can take up to 14 days to develop symptoms and or test positive after an exposure. If someone does not have symptoms of COVID-19, the quarantine period may end after the 5th day after being exposed to someone with COVID-19. People who have been exposed to COVID-19 should consider testing on day 5 after exposure and should mask for 5 days after discontinuing quarantine. 

Individuals may be quarantined based on the last day they were in contact with someone who has COVID-19. Different end dates mean they were last in contact with someone who has COVID-19 on different days. 

The following situations are considered a household exposure requiring individuals to quarantine:

  • Close contact with a household member regardless of mask usage who is positive or presumed to be positive in the 2 days prior to their symptoms onset or positive test date (day 0) if asymptomatic and a full 5 days after.
  • Close contact with a household member who is positive or presumed to be positive on days 6-10 after their symptoms starting or positive test if asymptomatic (day 0) and they were unmasked
    • Quarantine may still be required for household members even where masks were worn days 6-10 if the situation is determined to be high risk where masking may not be protective.  

These guidelines were developed by the CDC for general community exposures (ex: going to the grocery store). Most household situations present a much higher risk of transmission than your average community exposure. There are steps you can take to reduce the risk of exposure to your household contacts during your infectious period. These recommendations do not fully eliminate the risk of exposure.  

  • Stay in a separate room from other household members through the entire 10 day infectious period, if possible.
  • Use a separate bathroom, if possible.
  • Take steps to improve ventilation at home, if possible.
  • Avoid sharing personal household items, like cups, towels, and utensils.
  • Wear a well-fitting mask when you need to be around other people in the household.

The CDC also provides these requirements for isolation that are specific to households:

  • Continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others at home and in public for 5 additional days (day 6 through day 10) after the end of your 5-day isolation period.
  • If you are unable to wear a mask when around others, you should continue to isolate for a full 10 days.
  • Avoid eating around others at home and at work until a full 10 days after your first day of symptoms.

We understand that isolation may not be possible in some households, especially those with young children. If self-isolation away from household members is not possible, the following quarantine requirements apply: 

  • If you cannot self-isolate from your household member and you are able to wear a mask on days 6-10 of your infectious period and limit contact with them including while eating and drinking, their quarantine period will last the first 5 days of your isolation period followed by at least 5 days of quarantine with 5 additional days of masking. 
  • If you cannot self-isolate from household members and cannot meet the masking requirements on days 6-10 as outlined above, their quarantine period will last the full 10 days of your isolation period followed by at least 5 days of quarantine with 5 additional days of masking.
     

The quarantine period starts on the last date someone is exposed to someone who is infectious with COVID. When someone lives with someone who is infectious with COVID, they may be continuously exposed until the person with COVID is no longer infectious (their last day of isolation) if they are not able to completely isolate away from the person who is sick.

 In these situations, someone will need to quarantine until the person they live with finishes isolation and then for an additional 5 days.

Cases are infectious for 10 days after the start of their symptoms or collection of positive test when asymptomatic. If masks are worn as indicated on days 6-10 of this period, CDC does not consider this an exposure. If cases cannot reliably wear a mask around others (including at home) during days 6-10, this could be considered an exposure. To reduce the risk of exposure, cases should follow CDC guidelines and: 

  • Continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others at home for 5 additional days (day 6 through day 10) after the end of your 5-day isolation period.
  • Avoid eating around others at home and at work until a full 10 days after your first day of symptoms.
     

Wearing a mask significantly lowers the risk, but similar to wearing a helmet while playing football or wearing a seatbelt in a car, they do not eliminate risk entirely. Therefore we cannot consider them to be fully protective. Masking alone is not sufficient protection - only when combined with social distancing (where possible) would someone not be considered a close contact.

Yes. Masks lower, but don't completely prevent, transmission. Cloth face coverings and surgical masks are designed to protect others from the person wearing it. Evidence is starting to emerge that the mask may protect the person wearing it from others, but more research is needed. Face coverings are not a substitute for maintaining distance and masks shouldn't be used alone. 

No. Only the person who was exposed to someone with COVID-19 would quarantine. If the person in quarantine were to test positive, the other household members might then need to quarantine. It's important for the person with the quarantine order to remain separated from other household members to the greatest extent possible. 

You do not need to be retested to leave isolation and return to school or work after having COVID-19. As long as you meet the criteria listed below you may leave isolation:

  • At least 5 days since symptoms started OR 5 days from a positive test if you have no symptoms
  • Symptoms are improving
  • Fever-free for 24-hours without using fever-reducing medicines (such as Ibuprofen)

Some symptoms may linger for a few days or weeks. So long as your symptoms are improving and you meet the other criteria, you may leave isolation.

It is possible to test positive for COVID-19 for up to 90 days after recovering, even though that person is no longer able to spread the virus to others. Therefore, testing is not recommended or needed to allow someone to return to work or school after being diagnosed with COVID-19.

Larimer County has partnered with the Health District to provide shelter, transportation, meals, and other needs for those who don’t have a safe place to stay during this time. To arrange a stay, call 970-530-2766.

During the quarantine period it’s okay to do some outdoor activities like taking a walk as long as you can distance from others.

We do not recommend using drive-thru services as you would still have contact with the person at the window. To the greatest extent possible, we recommend having groceries and meals delivered.

Visiting local parks depends on the park and your ability to maintain distance from others while you are there. We recommend not touching any of the park equipment or benches. If you have a less busy place to get outdoors like a yard or a street/sidewalk with low traffic, we recommend using those options.

Do not visit busy hiking or walking trails. Stick to places near your home to get your outside time in so that you can make sure you are distanced from others.

Camping is not allowed while on quarantine as there are too many factors that could put others at risk.

We strongly encourage using a grocery delivery service if that's available in your area or having a family member, friend, or neighbor drop food off at your door if you know someone who would be willing to do that for you.

If you need assistance getting groceries or there isn't a delivery service available to you, Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains can provide assistance: 719-270-1464

Colorado 211 is also a helpful resource

  • Call 211
  • 211Colorado.org
  • Text your ZIP code to 898-211
  • Call toll-free 866-760-6489
  • Neighbor to Neighbor - www.n2n.org (Loveland/Berthoud only- go through Neighbor to Neighbor 1st)
    • Ft Collins: 970-484-7498
    • Loveland: 970-663-4163
  • Salvation Army  970-699-8380
  • Matthews House  970-472-4293
  • Murphy Center    970-494-9940
  • St Vincent DePaul  970-635-5809 

Being sick with or exposed to COVID may cause many different and strong emotions that may feel hard to manage on your own. There are many resources available to help. Click here for more information and for local resources that are available.

 


The Families First Coronavirus Response Act has been partially extended into 2021. The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act states that employees are entitled to up to 80 hours of fully paid sick leave if they are absent due to COVID-19 related reasons. An additional 10 weeks of leave may be granted at 75% of usual pay. Additionally, the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act, or the expanded FMLA, gives employees up to 12 weeks of leave in addition to the regular FMLA time, if you meet the eligibility requirements. This pay is tax refundable to your employer through March 31, 2021. If you have further questions, calling the people in charge of the payroll at your employer is the best way to go. If the situation covered by this Act doesn’t apply to you, you can also try calling the Colorado Unemployment Office. They have a call center for pandemic related assistance that is open Monday to Friday from 8am to 4pm. The number is: 303-536-5615.

If you are a CSU student, RamAid offers financial assistance of up to $1,000 to students who need help paying for things like food, rent, and medicine. If you can’t get paid time off, this might be a good option for you. You can apply through the Office of Financial Aid.  They can be reached by email: financialaid@colostate.edu or phone: 970-491-6321/

Cases are considered infectious during the 2 days prior to the start of their symptoms or positive test collection if asymptomatic [day 0] and for 10 full days after.

Cases are considered infectious for the 2 days prior to the start of their symptoms or positive test collection if asymptomatic [day 0] and for 10 full days after.

The following situations are considered an exposure:
-Contact (within 6 feet for more than 15 mins in 24 hours or other high risk activity), regardless of mask usage, with someone who is positive or presumed to be positive in the 2 days prior to their symptoms starting or positive test if asymptomatic (day 0) and the 5 days after. 
- Contact (within 6 feet for more than 15 mins in 24 hours or other high risk activity) with someone who is positive or presumed to be positive on days 6-10 after their symptoms starting or positive test if asymptomatic (day 0) and they were unmasked.

Those who are not up to date on their COVID vaccinations must quarantine for 5 days after the date of last contact with an additional 5 days of mask usage. Test on day 5 after exposure if possible. If a mask cannot be worn on days 6-10, quarantine the full 10 days. 

Those who are up-to-date on their COVID vaccinations or have tested positive via a viral test in the last 90 days  are not required to quarantine. Wear a mask for 10 days following the exposure. Test on day 5 after the exposure if possible.