If you Test Positive for COVID-19

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Page updated August 18, 2022

On August 11, 2022, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) streamlined its COVID-19 guidance to help people better understand how to protect themselves and others, what actions to take if exposed to COVID-19, and what actions to take if they are sick or test positive.

Our guidance on this page has been updated accordingly.

If you or a child test positive for COVID-19—from a healthcare provider, a testing site, or an at-home test—or  have symptoms of COVID-19 and have not gotten a negative test result, follow the guidance on this page to keep yourself and those around you safe.

Note: Due to changes in disease investigation and contact tracing protocols, you may not receive a call from the Public Health Department regarding a positive COVID-19 test. Follow the guidelines below and contact us if you have additional questions. You may email [email protected] or call 262-636-9201.

Self-Isolate at Home:

  • If you have not already been tested (i.e. you were exposed and have symptoms), you should be tested.
  • Stay home and do not go to work or send your child to school or daycare. See below for details on how long you should stay isolated.
  • You should not participate in other activities such as traveling, sports, going out for dinner, visiting family or friends, etc.
  • Monitor for new or worsening symptoms. If any emergency warning signs develop, call 9-1-1 and tell them of the COVID-19 diagnosis.
  • As much as possible, separate the ill person in your home from those who are not sick. Clean shared areas such as bathrooms regularly and clean your hands either with soap and water or by using hand sanitizer.

Notify Close Contacts:

  • Inform your employer or your child’s school and/or daycare of the positive test result and that you/your child must isolate at home; see below for the timeline.
  • Notify others with whom you/your child have been in contact recently. Anyone who was around the sick person within the 2 days prior to symptoms beginning (or the 2 days before the test was conducted, if asymptomatic) could be considered a close contact.
  • Refer any close contacts to the Close Contacts | City of Racine page for further information.

How Long to Isolate:

Everyone who has COVID-19 or symptoms of COVID-19 must isolate at home, staying away from others in the household as much as possible.

  • Isolation lasts at least 5 full days. Day 0 is the day symptoms begin (or the test date, if there are no symptoms), with Day 1 being the first full day after the symptom onset or test date.

 

If you have COVID-19 and have symptoms:

  • You can end isolation after 5 full days (after Day 5), IF:
    • You are fever-free for 24 hours, without the use of medications, and
    • Other symptoms have improved. Note that some mild symptoms may remain.
  • If you continue to have a fever or other symptoms have not improved after 5 days of isolation, you should continue to self-isolate until you meet the above criteria.
  • You must wear a well-fitting mask in public for 5 additional days. If you are unable to do so, you should continue to self-isolate at home through Day 10.
  • Avoid traveling or spending time around those who are immunocompromised until 10 days after your symptoms began.
  • Follow your employer, school, and/or daycare’s policies for returning after a positive COVID-19 test. Some may require you to stay home longer than 5 days.

 

If you have COVID-19 and never develop symptoms:

  • You can end isolation after 5 full days (after Day 5) from your test date if you continue to have no symptoms.
  • You must wear a well-fitting mask in public for 5 additional days after leaving isolation. If you are unable to do so, you should continue to self-isolate at home through Day 10.
  • If you develop symptoms at some point during your isolation, your 5-day isolation period starts over. Day 0 would then be the day your symptoms began, and isolation lasts through Day 5.
  • Avoid traveling or spending time around those who are immunocompromised until 10 days after your symptoms began.
  • Follow your employer, school, and/or daycare’s policies for returning after a positive COVID-19 test. Some may require you to stay home from work longer than 5 days.

If you have leave isolation and your COVID-19 symptoms recur or worsen:

  • Restart your isolation at Day 0 and again isolate through Day 5.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider if you have concerns about worsening symptoms or when you can end isolation.

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