Skip to main content
King County logo

Have you tested positive for COVID-19, had close contact with someone who has COVID-19, or do you have COVID-19 symptoms?

Use this tool to find out if you should quarantine or isolate, and for how long:

Do I need to quarantine or isolate?
  • Quarantine when you might have been exposed to the virus.
  • Isolate when you have been infected with the virus, even if you don't have symptoms.
  • Everyone exposed to COVID-19 should seek testing.

Getting vaccinated helps to prevent infection, severe illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19, and may affect your quarantine and isolation guidance. See the answers below and visit the CDC website and Washington Department of Health website for the latest updates and more information about how the current guidance applies to you.

When do I need to Quarantine?

I am not vaccinated and was exposed to COVID-19. What should I do?

If you are not vaccinated and have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 (within 6 feet of the person for 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period), stay home without visitors (quarantine) for 14 days and seek testing immediately after learning that you were exposed. If you test negative, continue to quarantine and seek testing again 5-7 days after last exposure, or immediately if symptoms develop during quarantine.

You can quarantine in your home or at a public Isolation/Quarantine center. Do not go to work, school, or public areas. If possible, also stay away from people in your household who are at high risk of serious COVID-19 illness.

If you do not have symptoms or test negative, continue to quarantine for 14 days after your exposure, because you might still get sick.

  • This is the safest option. If you are not able to quarantine for 14 days, quarantine for at least 10 days after exposure.
  • If you receive a negative test on day 5 or later after exposure and are not able to quarantine for 10-14 days, quarantine for at least 7 days after exposure.
  • If you must leave quarantine for any reason, make sure to wear a mask, distance from others, avoid crowded places, and stay away from people at high risk for serious illness.

If you have symptoms within 14 days after exposure, separate yourself from others (isolate) while waiting for your test result.

If you test positive for COVID-19, isolate and follow the instructions at kingcounty.gov/nextsteps.

You can also use this calculator tool external link to find out if you should quarantine or isolate, and for how long.

I am fully vaccinated and was exposed to COVID-19. What should I do?

If you are fully vaccinated and have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 (within 6 feet of the person for 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period), you should seek testing 3 or more days after exposure, and monitor for symptoms for 14 days after exposure. You do not need to quarantine or isolate unless you develop symptoms.

It is also important that you wear a mask in indoor public places. Masking is particularly important for people exposed to COVID-19 to avoid infecting others.

If you test negative, continue to monitor for symptoms for 14 days after exposure.

If you have symptoms within 14 days after exposure, separate yourself from others (isolate) while waiting for your test result.

If you test positive for COVID-19, isolate and follow the instructions at kingcounty.gov/nextsteps.

You can also use this calculator tool external link to find out if you should quarantine or isolate, and for how long.

I recently recovered from COVID-19 and was exposed to COVID-19. What should I do?

If you recently recovered from a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 illness you are not required to quarantine after a new COVID-19 exposure if:

  1. You completed isolation for your initial laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 illness AND,
  2. It has been less than 90 days since your first positive test (if you do not have symptoms), or since your symptoms started AND,
  3. You do not have any symptoms since the new COVID-19 exposure.

People who develop new COVID-19 symptoms within 14 days of a new exposure and meet the first two criteria above should isolate from others and talk to a healthcare provider to be evaluated for COVID-19. Your provider should ask about whether you've been vaccinated for or previously infected with COVID-19. They will talk with you about next steps, including getting tested or ending isolation early.

If you suspect that you've previously had COVID-19 but did not have a lab-confirmed result, and are not vaccinated, you should quarantine (see the above section: I am not vaccinated and was exposed to COVID-19. Do I need to quarantine?) and get tested after exposure to COVID-19, regardless of if you develop symptoms or not.

You can also use this calculator tool external link to find out if you should quarantine or isolate, and for how long.

I live with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, what should I do?

Regardless of your vaccination status, we recommend that you take these precautions:

  • For 10 days after your household member's COVID-19 symptoms started, avoid spending time in the same room and clean any shared surfaces. If you are in the same room, make it brief, maintain distance, and make sure that you both wear a mask.
  • Seek testing. If you test positive, follow the instructions on kingcounty.gov/nextsteps.
  • Monitor for symptoms. If you develop symptoms, separate yourself from others (isolate) and get tested right away.

If you are vaccinated, you do not need to quarantine, but you should take the steps above and wear a mask in indoor public places. Masking is particularly important for people with and exposed to COVID-19 to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to others.

If you are not vaccinated, we recommend that you take the steps above and quarantine for 24 days after your household member's symptoms first started. If it is not possible to stay home without visitors for the full 24 days, we recommend that you quarantine for at least 20 days after your household member's symptoms first began.

You can also use this calculator tool external link to find out if you should quarantine or isolate, and for how long.


I tested positive for COVID-19 or have symptoms after being exposed. How long do I need to isolate?

Whether you are vaccinated or not, all people who test positive or have symptoms after being exposed need to isolate until it's safe for them to be around others.

While isolating, do not leave your home or public Isolation/Quarantine center, except to receive medical care. At home, anyone sick or infected should separate from others -- stay in a specific "sick room" or area, use a separate bathroom (if available), and avoid sharing personal household items. If you are in the same room as household members, make it brief, maintain a distance, and make sure you both wear a mask.

If you tested positive for COVID-19

Follow the instructions at kingcounty.gov/nextsteps.

If you test positive and have symptoms, end isolation after:

  • At least 24 hours have passed with no fever (without the use of fever reducing medication); AND,
  • At least 10 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared; AND,
  • Other symptoms have improved.

If you test positive but have not had symptoms, you may end isolation after at least 10 days have passed since your first positive COVID-19 test, and if you have not had another illness.

If you have symptoms after being exposed to COVID-19

If you have symptoms within 14 days after coming into close contact with someone who has COVID-19 (within 6 feet of the person for 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period), you should seek testing immediately and isolate while waiting for your test result—whether you are vaccinated or not.

  • If you then test negative, you should quarantine (stay home or at a public Isolation/Quarantine center without outside visitors) for 14 days after your exposure, because you might still get sick.
  • This is the safest option. If you are not able to quarantine for 14 days, quarantine for at least 10 days after exposure.
  • If you receive a negative test on day 5 or later after exposure and are not able to quarantine for 10-14 days, quarantine for at least 7 days after exposure.

You can also use this calculator tool external link to find out if you should quarantine or isolate, and for how long.


For healthcare professionals

If you are a healthcare professional who thinks or knows you had COVID-19, you should notify your employer and follow the same recommendations listed above for when you can resume being around others outside the workplace. When you can return to work depends on different factors and situations—ask your employer for guidance. For information on when you can return to work, see: Criteria for Return to Work for Healthcare Personnel with SARS-CoV-2 Infection (CDC Interim Guidance).


What if I need help finding a place to isolate or quarantine?

Isolation and quarantine centers are available to provide a safe, clean, and comfortable place to stay for people who can’t safely self-quarantine or isolate in their own home, or don’t have a home. These places are free and confidential for everyone, and your stay is not reported to any authority outside Public Health.

To access services, call the King County COVID-19 Call Center at 206-477-3977 from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily to see if isolation and quarantine services are right for you. Interpretation is available.

Learn more about King County Isolation and Quarantine support services here.


What if I can’t afford to take time off work to isolate or quarantine?

If you are experiencing economic hardship and test positive for COVID-19 or are exposed to someone who tested positive, you may be eligible to receive a one-time direct payment to vendors for up to $1500towards utilities, phone, and internet bills. No application is necessary and there is no citizenship or income requirement.

To learn more about this resource and if you qualify, visit the Household Assistance Request web page.


Local Health Officer Directive and Order

Effective March 28, 2020, individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 or who are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 and have a test result pending must remain in quarantine or isolation to prevent further spread, as described above. Individuals who fail to comply may be subject to involuntary detention pursuant to public health authority under RCW 70.05.070 (2)-(3) and WAC 246-100-036 (3).


For more information, see the complete order for additional details, including conditions of quarantine and isolation.


Related Links

If you have additional questions, call the King County COVID-19 Call Center at 206-477-3977 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Interpretation is available.





Link/share our site at kingcounty.gov/covid/quarantine