Isolation and Quarantine

Click on the sections below to learn more about how to limit the spread of COVID-19, how to protect yourself and others, symptoms to watch for, and what to do if you become ill with COVID-19.

COVID-19 spreads when an infected person breathes out droplets and very small particles that contain the virus. These droplets and particles can be breathed in by other people or land on their eyes, noses, or mouth. In some circumstances, they may contaminate surfaces they touch. People who are closer than 6 feet from the infected person are most likely to get infected.

COVID-19 is spread in three main ways:

  • Breathing in air when close to an infected person who is exhaling small droplets and particles that contain the virus.
  • Having these small droplets and particles that contain virus land on the eyes, nose, or mouth, especially through splashes and sprays like a cough or sneeze.
  • Touching eyes, nose, or mouth with hands that have the virus on them.

For these reasons, people at increased risk of infection are:

  • People who have been to areas where widespread community transmission is occurring.
  • People who had direct close contact with someone who was confirmed to have COVID-19.
  • Individuals that are not vaccinated are also at an increased risk for COVID-19 infection.

Like any other virus, no identity, community, ethnic, or racial group in Colorado is more at risk for getting or spreading COVID-19. For More information visit: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/transmission/index.html.

Get Vaccinated

• Authorized COVID-19 vaccines can help protect you from COVID-19.
• You should get a COVID-19 vaccine.
• Once you are fully vaccinated, you may be able to start doing some things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic.

For more information on vaccines and where they are available in La Plata and Archuleta counties visit: sjbpublichealth.org/covid-19-vaccine/
Anyone infected with COVID-19 can spread it, even if they do NOT have symptoms.

Wear a mask

In accordance with the SJBPH health advisory, all individuals over the age of 10 are urged to wear face coverings in public places and large gatherings. Individual establishments may enact more stringent policies.

  • If you are not fully vaccinated and aged 2 or older, you should wear a mask in indoor public places.
  • In general, you do not need to wear a mask in outdoor settings.
    • In areas with high numbers of COVID-19 cases, consider wearing a mask in crowded outdoor settings and for activities with close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated.
  • If you are fully vaccinated (two or more weeks have passed since your final dose of vaccine) and have a condition or are taking medications that weaken your immune system, you may need to keep taking steps to protect yourself, like wearing a mask. Talk to your healthcare provider about steps you can take to manage your health and risks.
  • Masks are required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations. Travelers are not required to wear a mask in outdoor areas of a conveyance (like on a ferry or the top deck of a bus). CDC recommends that travelers who are not fully vaccinated continue to wear a mask and maintain physical distance when traveling.
  • Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth to help protect yourself and others.

To determine when you are fully vaccinated visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated.html#vaccinated

Stay 6 feet away from others

  • Inside your home: Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • If possible, maintain 6 feet between the person who is sick and other household members.
  • Outside your home: Put 6 feet of distance between yourself and people who don’t live in your household.
    • Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread virus.
  • Stay at least six (6) feet (about two arms lengths) from other people
  • Keeping a distance from others is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.

Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces

  • Being in crowds like in restaurants, bars, fitness centers, or movie theaters puts you at higher risk for COVID-19.
  • Avoid indoor spaces that do not offer fresh air from the outdoors as much as possible.
  • If indoors, bring in fresh air by opening windows and doors, if possible.
  • Ensure HVAC systems both in the workplace and at home are properly maintained including changing filters regularly.

Wash your hands often

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

It’s especially important to wash:

  • Before eating or preparing food
  • Before touching your face
  • After using the restroom
  • After leaving a public place
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After handling your mask
  • After changing a diaper
  • After caring for someone sick
  • After touching animals or pets

For more information on how and when to wash visit: https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html

Cover coughs and sneezes

  • If you are wearing a mask: You can cough or sneeze into your mask. Put on a new, clean mask as soon as possible and wash your hands.
  • If you are not wearing a mask:
    • Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow and do not spit.
    • Throw used tissues in the trash.
  • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Clean and disinfect

  • Clean high-touch surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
    • If someone is sick or has tested positive for COVID-19, disinfect frequently touched surfaces. Use a household disinfectant product from the EPA’s list of approved disinfectants according to the manufacturer’s labeled directions. A list can be found here: https://www.epa.gov/coronavirus/about-list-n-disinfectants-coronavirus-covid-19-0
    • If surfaces are dirty, clean them using detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.

For more information on high touch surfaces visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/disinfecting-your-home.html

Monitor your health daily

  • Even if you are vaccinated, be on alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19.
    • Especially important if you are running essential errands, going into the office or workplace, and in settings where it may be difficult to keep a physical distance of six (6) feet.
  • Take your temperature if symptoms develop.
    • Don’t take your temperature within 30 minutes of exercising or after taking medications that could lower your temperature, like acetaminophen.
  • Follow CDC and SJBPH guidance if symptoms develop, found here:https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html

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 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

This list does not include all possible symptoms. CDC will continue to update this list as we learn more about COVID-19. Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.

Isolation is used to separate people sick and/or infected with COVID-19 from those who are not infected. Stay home except to get medical care.

  • Stay home. Most people with COVID-19 have mild illness and can recover at home without medical care. Do not leave your home, except to get medical care.
  • Do not visit public areas.
  • Take care of yourself. Get rest and stay hydrated. Take over-the-counter medicines, such as acetaminophen, to help you feel better.
  • Stay in touch with your doctor. Call before you get medical care. Be sure to seek medical care if you have trouble breathing, or have any other emergency warning signs, or if you think it is an emergency.
  • Do not use public transportation, buses, airplanes, ridesharing, or taxis.

Separate yourself from other people

As much as possible, stay in a specific room and away from other people and pets in your home. If possible, you should use a separate bathroom. If you need to be around other people or animals in or outside of the home, wear a mask.

  • Tell your close contacts that they may have been exposed to COVID-19. An infected person can spread COVID-19 starting 48 hours (or 2 days) before the person has any symptoms or tests positive. By letting your close contacts know they may have been exposed to COVID-19, you are helping to protect everyone.
  • Additional guidance is available for those living in close quarters and shared housing.
  • For questions about pets visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html#COVID-19-and-Animals.
  • If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, someone from San Juan Basin Public health will call you. Answer the call to slow the spread.

Monitor your symptoms

  • Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, or other symptoms are listed above.
  • Follow care instructions from your healthcare provider and local health department. San Juan Basin Public Health may give instructions on checking your symptoms and reporting information.

When to seek emergency medical attention

Look for emergency warning signs* for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone

*This list is not all possible symptoms. Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

Call 911 or call ahead to your local emergency facility: Notify the operator that you are seeking care for someone who has or may have COVID-19.

Call ahead before visiting your doctor

  • Call ahead. Many medical visits for routine care are being postponed or done by phone or telemedicine.
  • If you have a medical appointment that cannot be postponed, call your doctor’s office, and tell them you have or may have COVID-19. This will help the office protect themselves and other patients.

Get Tested

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, get tested. While waiting for test results stay away from others, including staying apart from those living in your household.

If you are sick, wear a mask over your nose and mouth

  • You should wear a mask covering your nose and mouth if you must be around other people or animals, including pets (even at home).
  • You don’t need to wear the mask if you are alone. If you can’t put on a mask (because of trouble breathing, for example), cover your coughs and sneezes in some other way. Try to stay at least 6 feet away from other people. This will help protect the people around you.
  • Masks should not be placed on young children under age 2 years, anyone who has trouble breathing, or anyone who is not able to remove the mask without help.
  • Note: During the COVID-19 pandemic, medical-grade facemasks are reserved for healthcare workers and some first responders.

Cover your coughs and sneezes

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Throw away used tissues in a lined trash can.
  • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Clean your hands often

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. This is especially important after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
  • Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry.
  • Soap and water are the best option, especially if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid sharing personal household items

  • Do not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people in your home.
  • Wash these items thoroughly after using them with soap and water or put in the dishwasher.

Clean all “high-touch” surfaces every day

  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces in your “sick room” and bathroom, wear disposable gloves. Let someone else clean and disinfect surfaces in common areas, but you should clean your bedroom and bathroom, if possible.
  • If a caregiver or other person needs to clean and disinfect a sick person’s bedroom or bathroom, they should do so on an as-needed basis. The caregiver/other person should wear a mask and disposable gloves prior to cleaning. They should wait as long as possible after the person who is sick has used the bathroom before coming in to clean and use the bathroom.

High-touch surfaces include phones, remote controls, counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables.

  • Clean and disinfect areas that may have blood, stool, or body fluids on them.
  • Use household cleaners and disinfectants. Clean the area or item with soap and water or another detergent if it is dirty. Then, use a household disinfectant.

When you can be around others after you had or likely had COVID-19

When you can be around others (end home isolation) depends on different factors for different situations.
Find CDC’s recommendations for your situation below.

I think or know I had COVID-19, and I had symptoms
You can be with others after:

  • At least 10 days since symptoms first appeared and
  • At least 24 hours with no fever without fever-reducing medication and
  • Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving

**Loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation

If you had severe illness from COVID-19 (you were admitted to a hospital and needed oxygen), your healthcare provider may recommend that you stay in isolation for longer than 10 days after your symptoms first appeared (possibly up to 20 days) and you may need to finish your period of isolation at home.

I tested positive for COVID-19 but had no symptoms
If you continue to have no symptoms, you can be with others after:

  • 10 days have passed since the date you had your positive test

If you develop symptoms after testing positive, follow the guidance above for “I think or know I had COVID, and I had symptoms.”

I had COVID-19 or I tested positive for COVID-19 and I have a weakened immune system.

If you have a weakened immune system (immunocompromised) due to a health condition or medication, you might need to stay home and isolate yourself for longer than 10 days and possibly 20 days after symptoms begin. In some circumstances, further testing may be needed. Talk to your healthcare provider for more information.
Your doctor may work with an infectious disease expert to determine when you can be around others.

Getting tested again for COVID-19

If you have recovered from your symptoms after testing positive for COVID-19, you may continue to test positive for three months or more without being contagious to others. For this reason, you should be tested only if you develop new symptoms of possible COVID-19. Getting tested again should be discussed with your healthcare provider, especially if you have been in close contact with another person who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 14 days.
If you have symptoms and test positive for COVID-19, follow the guidance above for “I think or know I had COVID, and I had symptoms.” Your doctor may work with an infectious disease expert to determine when you can be around others.

Stay home if you might have been exposed to COVID-19

Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. Quarantine helps prevent spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms. People in quarantine should stay home, separate themselves from others, monitor their health, and follow directions from San Juan Basin Public Health

Who needs to Quarantine:

People who have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19—excluding people who have had COVID-19 within the past 3 months or who are fully vaccinated.

  • People who have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 3 months and recovered do not have to quarantine or get tested again as long as they do not develop new symptoms.
  • People who develop symptoms again within 3 months of their first bout of COVID-19 may need to be tested again if there is no other cause identified for their symptoms.
  • People who have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 are not required to quarantine if they have been fully vaccinated against the disease and show no symptoms.

What counts as close contact?

  • You were within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more
  • You provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19
  • You had direct physical contact with the person (hugged or kissed them)
  • You shared eating or drinking utensils
  • They sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on you

Stay home and monitor your health

  • Stay home for 14 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19.
  • Watch for fever (100.4◦F), cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19 described above
  • If possible, stay away from others, especially people who are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19

Options to reduce quarantine

Reducing the length of quarantine may make it easier for people to quarantine by reducing the time they cannot work. A shorter quarantine period also can lessen stress on the public health system, especially when new infections are rapidly rising.

San Juan Basin Public health authorities make the final decisions about how long quarantine should last, based on local conditions and needs. Follow those recommendations. Options considered include stopping quarantine

  • After day 10 without testing
  • After day 7 after receiving a negative test result (test must occur on day 5 or later)

After stopping quarantine, you should

  • Watch for symptoms until 14 days after exposure.
  • If you have symptoms, immediately self-isolate and contact San Juan Basin Public Health or healthcare provider.
  • Wear a mask, stay at least 6 feet from others, wash your hands, avoid crowds, and take other steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Get tested

SJBPH and the CDC continue to endorse quarantine for 14 days and recognizes that any quarantine shorter than 14 days balances reduced burden against the possibility of spreading the virus. CDC will continue to evaluate new information and update recommendations as needed. For guidance on options to reduce quarantine visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/science/science-briefs/scientific-brief-options-to-reduce-quarantine.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fmore%2Fscientific-brief-options-to-reduce-quarantine.html

For more information about quarantine visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/quarantine.html

You are considered fully vaccinated two (2) weeks after your first dose of Johnson and Johnson (Jannsen) or your second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine. Once an individual has been fully vaccinated guidance on exposure and quarantine changes.

Click here to learn about where to receive a vaccine.

Exposure after Vaccination

If you are exposed to COVID-19 less than two weeks after getting your final dose of vaccine you should quarantine. It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. That means it is possible a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and gets sick. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection. If you have COVID-19 virus symptoms after getting the vaccine or at any time, you should contact your health care provider and get tested for COVID-19.

If you are fully vaccinated at the time of exposure it is recommended to follow the below guidance:

  • It is not necessary to quarantine after exposure to a positive COVID-19 case
  • Monitor for symptoms for 14 days after the last exposure with a positive COVID-19 case. If you experience symptoms seek testing and isolate
  • Wear a mask for the 14 days after last exposure with a positive COVID-19 case
  • Get tested 5-7 days after last exposure to a positive COVID-19 case
  • Continue all other precautions against sickness such as personal hygiene and social distancing