FAQ - COVID-19 Precautions

Previous COVID-19 isolation and quarantine guidelines are no longer in effect. Instead, CDC recommends that all people use the SMARTER Plan to reduce the spread of respiratory infections. SMARTER stands for:

  • Shots - Get vaccinated.
  • Masks - Wear masks properly.
  • Awareness - Stay aware of how COVID-19 spreads, its evolving variants, ways for people to protect themselves, and coordinating state and local government response
  • Readiness - Be ready with the tools, resources, and supplies to be prepared and quickly respond.
  • Testing - Get the right type of tests where they're most needed.
  • Education - Work to keep schools open and children safely in classrooms for in-person instruction.
  • Rx - Evolving and improving treatments and their availability.

If you test positive for COVID-19 or get respiratory symptoms, Use precautions to prevent further spread of the virus.
Preventing Spread of Respiratory Viruses When You're Sick for more information on precautions to prevent spread.

What to do if you have been exposed to COVID-19

Updated guidelines for COVID-19 precautions are symptom-based, not specific timeframes.

What if I develop symptoms of COVID-19? 

All who have developed symptoms or tested positive, including asymptomatic, are recommended to:

  1. Seek testing or treatment if you are higher risk.
  2. Stay home until you have not had a fever for 24 hours without using fever reducing medication AND your other symptoms are mild and improving.
  3. After returning to your normal activities, do the following for the next 5 days:
    • Avoid people who are higher risk or live in a high-risk setting.
    • Mask when you're around others indoors.
    • Practice healthy habits, such as handwashing, covering your cough, and physical distancing.

If the infected person is going to a medical office, emergency room, or urgent care center, the person should wear a mask for the clinical visit. 

Who is considered higher risk or in higher-risk settings?

People who are considered to be at higher risk of becoming severely ill include:

  • Young children
  • Older adults, aged 50+
  • People with disabilities
  • People with weakened immune systems
  • People with certain medical conditions (e.g. chronic disease or cancer)
  • People who are pregnant or were recently pregnant
  • People who live in congregate care facilities (e.g. skilled nursing facility)

When to Seek Emergency Medical Attention

In an event of an emergency, call 911 or contact your local emergency facility. Emergency warning signs for COVID-19 include, but are not limited to:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain of 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.

If you are concerned about any other symptoms, please contact your medical provider.

Long COVID-19
For some people, COVID-19 symptoms can last anywhere from four weeks to six months after testing positive for the virus. These post-COVID conditions, also known as long COVID, long-haul COVID, post-acute COVID-19, long term effects of COVID, or chronic COVID. Below are resources for anyone experiencing long COVID.

California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Resources

Updated 6/11/2024