Information About Quarantine and Isolation
There may be some confusion regarding quarantine and isolation. Quarantine keeps someone who may have been exposed to SARS-CoV-2 away from others. Isolation keeps someone who is infected with the virus away from others, even in their own home. In most cases, if you are subject to isolation or quarantine, you will get a call from MA COVID Team (with an 833 or 857 area code), please answer the call and provide the requested information. They will be able to tell you if you are required to quarantine.
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 their state or local health department. Those who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 or who have travelled outside of Massachusetts should quarantine.
The CDC has a helpful page with scenarios to help explain when a period of quarantine would begin and end based on different exposures.
During a period of quarantine, you should watch for symptoms of COVID-19 and, when possible, avoid contact with family members at higher risk of severe COVID -19 disease.
To determine the necessary length of quarantine, your last day of exposure is the last time you were within 6 feet of someone confirmed to have COVID-19 or the day you arrived home after travel outside of the state. Your period of quarantine is over 14 days after your last day of exposure. Please be aware that if someone in the home has COVID-19 disease and they can not be completely isolated from ongoing contact, the period of quarantine for family members DOES NOT BEGIN until that person has completed their period of isolation as described below.
You should expect to be contacted regarding contact tracing. Please answer the call and provide requested information to help contain the spread of the virus. If testing is recommended, it is best performed 4-5 days after the date of last known contact. A negative test may help with containing ongoing spread of disease but does not change the recommended period of quarantine.
Isolation keeps someone with known COVID-19 away from others to help stop the spread of the virus. Individuals should stay home, preferably in a separate area of the house, i.e., separate bedroom and bathroom if possible. Masks should be worn when around other people in the home if complete isolation is not possible. Wear gloves and a mask when cleaning household items. Surface should be cleaned frequently with household disinfectant. Monitor symptoms closely and seek medical attention for severe or worsening symptoms.
The period of isolation ends 10 days from symptom onset AND at least 24 hours without fever (while not taking fever-reducing medications) and improvement in symptoms. Repeat testing is not recommended or required for return to school or work.