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Self Quarantine and Self Isolation Instructions

The infectious disease COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus, is continuing to spread in our community. Some people are placed on home quarantine in order to limit the spread of this virus to others in our community. We understand that being placed on home quarantine can be hard on families. Please read this to learn more about home quarantine and what it means for you and your family.

Home Quarantine

Q: What is a home quarantine? A home quarantine is when your health care provider or public health official tells you and your family to stay home and limit contact with people outside of your household. It’s for people who have been exposed to COVID-19.

Q: Why am I/my family being placed on home quarantine? You and your family are being placed on home quarantine because it is possible you have been exposed to COVID-19. The people who need to stay at home are those who were exposed to COVID-19. Anyone with symptoms that might be from COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath) should also isolate at home (see home isolation section below).

Q: How long will I have to be on home quarantine? You can end isolation after 5 full days if you are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication, and your other symptoms have improved (loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation). You should continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others at home and in public for 5 additional days (day 6 through 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.

  • If you do not develop symptoms, get tested at least 5 days after you last had close contact with someone with COVID-19.

  • If you test negative, you can leave your home, but continue to wear a well-fitting mask when around others at home and in public until 10 days after your last close contact with someone with COVID-19.

  • If you test positive, you should isolate for at least 5 days from the date of your positive test (if you do not have symptoms). If you do develop COVID-19 symptoms, isolate for at least 5 days from the date your symptoms began (the date the symptoms started is day 0). Follow recommendations in the isolation section below.

  • If you are unable to get a test 5 days after last close contact with someone with COVID-19, you can leave your home after day 5 if you have been without COVID-19 symptoms throughout the 5-day period. Wear a well-fitting mask for 10 days after your date of last close contact when around others at home and in public

Q: Who do I call if I have questions? If you have questions about the testing for COVID-19, speak to the care team who is doing this test. Any other questions about coronavirus or COVID-19 should be directed to your primary care provider. If you have questions about your home quarantine, please call your local health department.

Q: What do I need to do while in quarantine?

  • Stay home. You should not leave home except to get medical care. This includes staying home from work, avoiding any public areas (including stores, restaurants, etc.), and not using public transportation.

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, then dispose of the tissue.

  • Have only people in the home who live there or are essential for providing care. No one else may visit.

  • Stay in a different room from other members of your family as much as possible if you are the only one who was exposed.

  • Clean your hands well with soap and water or hand sanitizer often, especially after you sneeze or blow your nose, and before touching your face or eating.

  • Avoid sharing household items such as dishes, cups, bedding or other items between people in your home, especially between those who were exposed or are sick and those who are not.

Home Isolation Guidance for Individuals with Confirmed or Suspected COVID-19 Under Home Isolation:

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has provided the following guidance for individuals regarding home management.

Home Isolation Guidance

Used for people suspected or confirmed to have coronavirus (COVID-19)

Why? To keep the person from infecting others

  • Stay home except for medical care or emergencies. Notify your emergency responders and providers that you have COVID-19 if you need assistance.

  • Stay in a separate area from others in the home and use a different bathroom, if possible

  • Keep at least six feet away from other people

  • Wear a face mask around others

  • Have food and necessities delivered

  • Wash hands with soap and water often

  • Wash surfaces regularly, including doorknobs, cell phones and counters

  • Use separate utensils and dishes from others in the home

Isolation Duration

Individuals with COVID-19 who were directed to care for themselves at home should remain on home isolation until they have been released by the local health department. Release criteria usually includes:

  • At least 5 full days from the start of symptoms

  • Wear a well-fitting mask around others at home and in public for 5 additional days (day 6 through 10); if unable to wear a mask, continue to isolate for the full 10 days

  • At least 24 hours with no fever (without fever reducing medication)

  • Other symptoms are improved

This duration may be extended by the health department.


Household members of a person with COVID-19 need to quarantine due to their exposure to the ill person. The local health department will provide guidance about how long to quarantine.

  • Stay home. Your family member should not leave home except for getting medical care. This includes staying home from work, school, avoiding any public areas, and not using public transportation. 

  • They should clean hands well with soap and water or hand sanitizer often, especially after they sneeze or blow their nose, and before touching their face or eating.

  • Clean “high-touch” surfaces every day (counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, bedside tables, etc.). And clean any surfaces that may have blood, stool or body fluids on them.

  • Use a household cleaning spray or wipe, according to the label instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product, including following precautions when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure there is good ventilation during use of the product.

  • If family members start having symptoms like cough and fever, they should tell their primary care provider and the health department right away.

  • Both you and your family members should call ahead before visiting the doctor. Even with a medical appointment, call ahead and tell the office about the COVID-19 exposure. This helps the office take steps to keep others from getting infected or exposed


1 IDSA. COVID-19 Prioritization of Diagnostic Testing. https://www.idsociety.org/globalassets/idsa/public-health/covid-19-prioritization-of-dx-testing.pdf  . Updated 3/17/2020. (Accessed 3/24/2020)

2 MO DHSS. Update: Criteria to Guide Evaluation and Laboratory Testing for COVID-19.

3. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html

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