Understanding quarantine versus isolation, and when to do what can be confusing. Below are visuals and information to help clarify the guidance. If you have questions please submit them here.
Skip to a section:
- Quarantine vs Isolation – What’s the difference?
- Updated Quarantine Guidance
- Do’s and Don’ts During Quarantine/Isolation
- COVID-19 Exposure Scenarios
- Resources for Quarantine & Isolation
Keeps someone who was in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 away from others
If you had close contact with a person who has COVID-19:
For 14 days after exposure, regardless of your quarantine length, you should:
Keeps someone who is sick or tested positive for COVID-19 without symptoms away from others, even in their own home
If you are symptomatic and think or know you have COVID-19 stay home until after:
If you tested positive for COVID-19 but do not have symptoms:
- Stay home until after 10 days have passed since your positive test
- If you live with others, stay in a specific “sick room” or area and away from other people or animals, including pets.
Updated Quarantine Guidance
Pitkin County Public Health is adopting the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reduced quarantine length guidance. Reducing the length of quarantine can reduce burden on the community and increase compliance.
Length of quarantine: 14 days
Is testing required? No
Who should use this option: People who have regular close contact with high risk individuals. This includes people who live or work in residential or congregate living facilities.
People who are not yet vaccinated and have had close contact with a case infected with a COVID-19 variant virus must quarantine for 14 days.
Length of Quarantine: 10 days
Is testing required? No
Who should use this option: This quarantine period is appropriate for most people who do not have contact with high risk individuals. Individuals must monitor themselves daily and have not had any symptoms of COVID-19. People may resume their usual activities beginning on day 11 after exposure. Continue to monitor daily for symptoms for the full 14 days following exposure.
Length of Quarantine: 7 days
Is testing required? Yes
Who should use this option: People who do not have contact with high risk individuals and have a negative test (PCR or antigen; at-home tests are not permitted) collected 48 hours before quarantine is discontinued (on day 5 or later). Individuals must monitor themselves daily and have not had any symptoms of COVID-19. People may resume their usual activities beginning on day 8 after exposure. Continue to monitor daily for symptoms for the full 14 days following exposure.
In no circumstances may quarantine be discontinued before 7 full days of quarantine have passed since exposure.
Regardless of whether someone is released from quarantine early, if they develop any symptoms of COVID-19 illness in the 14 days following their exposure, they must isolate immediately and notify public health. If they develop symptoms during quarantine, individuals must stay home and avoid others until:
- They have been fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medications)
- AND their symptoms improve,
- AND it has been 10 days since their first symptoms.
Close contacts who develop symptoms during quarantine should seek testing. For more information on testing sites, please visit the testing webpage.
Do’s and Dont’s During Quarantine/Isolation:
- Do not go to grocery stores or other public places (food deliveries and other supports can be found here and/or discussed with the Disease Investigation staff who calls you)
- Do not use public transportation
- Do not go to work. Working from a home-based office is permitted
- Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home
- Clean your hands often
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
- Cover your coughs and sneezes
We realize that the above requirements may be difficult for many. To minimize the negative effects, we have compiled a list of resources that may provide mental health support, as well as support acquiring groceries and housing for isolation.
COVID-19 Exposure Scenarios
Below you will find numerous situations where individuals are sick/exposed and information on what to do. If you have any questions, please submit them here.
Here are resources to better understand quarantining and COVID-19 symptoms which are both often referenced in the scenarios below:
I have COVID-19 symptoms
I had close contact/exposed to someone that has COVID-19
I live with someone that has COVID-19
I have no symptoms but tested positive
I had COVID-19 in the past
I have been vaccinated
We are still awaiting further guidance from the CDC. Further information forthcoming. Even once vaccinated, we need everyone to remain vigilant in practicing important disease prevention steps like staying home whenever possible, staying at least 6 feet away from others and not gathering with those outside your home, wearing masks and washing hands.
Do I need to quarantine if I have been vaccinated?
For most people, if a full two weeks has passed since your second dose of the vaccine, you do not need to quarantine if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19. If you live and/or work in a congregate setting (such as correctional settings or homeless shelters), then you may still be required to quarantine after the exposure even after you are fully vaccinated.
I have children at school/childcare
Any person working at, or attending a Pitkin County school or childcare center, is required to follow 10 day quarantine guidance for schools. Persons quarantined from an exposure at a school or childcare center can test out of quarantine after 7 days, however they may not return to school, or childcare, until 10 days have passed since exposure.
Resources for Quarantine & Isolation
COVID-19 symptoms can vary from mild to severe and usually appear 2-14 days after exposure. You may have COVID-19 if you have any of the symptoms below:
- Sore throat
- Unusual Fatigue
- Muscle or body aches
- Runny nose or congestion
- Stomach pain (or nausea)
- Muscle aches
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Loss of taste or smell