Protect Yourself

COVID-19 is a new disease. We learn more every day about the virus that causes COVID-19 and the best ways to stop the pandemic. We know this can make it hard to know what to do. If you can’t find what you are looking for, call our Coronavirus Hotline at 1-800-456-7707 or use the webchat feature on our website.

Should I get tested for COVID-19?

Stay at home (away from others if possible) and get tested right away if you have symptoms of COVID-19.

We know there is a chance people can get re-infected and that people who are vaccinated can get COVID-19 (called a breakthrough case). We suggest anyone with symptoms get tested, just to be safe.

 
 

Anyone who is exposed to COVID-19 should get tested. Wait 5 days after your exposure to get tested. This lets enough of the virus build up in your body to be detected by the tests. The vaccines do not interfere with the accuracy of COVID-19 tests. You may need to get tested more than one time, depending on what type of test you had, when you were tested, and if you had symptoms at the time of your test. After you get tested for COVID-19, go home right away. Don’t stop at the store, your workplace, or other people's homes. Stay at home until you get your test result.

We know there is a chance people can be re-infected with COVID-19. We also know some people can test positive after they have COVID-19 even though they are no longer infectious to other people. The CDC and Utah Department of Health recommends you not get tested again for COVID-19 if it’s been less than 90 days (about 3 months) since you first tested positive, as long as you don’t have any new symptoms. However, if you have any new symptoms or it’s been more than 90 days (about 3 months) since you tested positive, you should get tested again. 

We also know there is a chance vaccinated people can get COVID-19 (called a breakthrough case), so to be very safe we suggest you get a COVID-19 test 5 days after you were exposed, even if you are vaccinated.

What kind of test should I get?

Some COVID-19 tests are more accurate than others. Antigen tests (also called rapid tests as well as at-home tests) work best when someone has symptoms of COVID-19. Rapid antigen tests detect only high levels of virus and are less sensitive than PCR tests. A PCR test looks for the genetic material of the virus. It is a very accurate test and almost always detects if a person is infected with the virus. Learn more here.

Do I need a confirmatory PCR test?

Rapid antigen tests detect only high levels of virus and are less sensitive than PCR tests. They work best when you are sick. Get a PCR test if your antigen test (rapid/at-home) result is negative and you have symptoms. You may have a false negative test result. If you can’t get a PCR test or you choose to use a rapid antigen or at-home test again, wait 24-36 hours before re-testing.

You can learn more about how much COVID-19 testing costs, the types of COVID-19 tests, and how to get your test results at https://coronavirus.utah.gov/testing-locations.



Exposure Notifications

You may get a notification on your phone if you were exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19. The state of Utah has partnered with Apple and Google to enable exposure notifications on your smart devices. You must give permission to Apple or Google to get these notifications. If you test positive for COVID-19, you can choose to let Apple or Google send a notification to anyone who was in close contact with you. These people will receive a notification on their phone if they have enabled this service.  Learn more here

You may also get a text message from Utah Public Health contact tracers asking you to take a survey if you test positive for COVID-19. This is different from the Exposure Notifications from Apple or Google. The survey helps the health department learn where you may have gotten COVID and who else may be at risk for it. You can also share the contact information of anyone who may have been exposed to you. These people will then get a text message from the health department letting them know when they were exposed and what they should do. Learn more here

What is the difference between quarantine and isolation?

Quarantine is for people who may have been exposed to COVID-19. Isolation is for people who have tested positive or have symptoms of COVID-19.


Isolate at home if you test positive or have symptoms of COVID-19

Isolation 

A 10-day isolation is still the very safest length of time to stay home after you test positive. However, new data from the CDC shows that a shorter isolation and quarantine may now be used. Learn why here. Utah public health officials have decided to use the day a person is tested to determine how long someone needs to stay at home and isolate. The CDC allows health officials to make adjustments to guidelines based on what works best in their communities.

Stay home if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or test positive, even if you are vaccinated or had COVID before. The vaccines do not interfere with the accuracy of COVID-19 tests. This means if you test positive after you’re vaccinated, you have COVID-19. These are called breakthrough cases. Breakthrough cases and reinfections are rare but can happen.

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If you have symptoms, stay home until:

  • You have been fever-free for 24 hours without using medicine to lower your fever,
  • Your symptoms have improved for 24 hours,
  • It has been at least 5 days from the day you were tested. The day you test positive is called day 0. Stay home until it has been 5 full days after you test positive (days 1-5). You must stay home for at least 5 days.

You may need to stay at home longer than 5 days if your symptoms have not gotten better. Some symptoms, like losing your sense of taste or smell, can last for weeks or months even though you are no longer infectious and don’t need to stay home anymore. Learn more here.

Wear a well-fitting mask around others and in public for 5 more days after you end your isolation at home. 

If you never had symptoms, stay home until:

  • It has been at least 5 days since the day you were tested. The day you test positive is called day 0. Stay home until it has been 5 full days after you test positive (days 1-5). You must stay home for at least 5 days.

If you get sick or develop symptoms, your 5-day isolation at home starts over. Learn more here

Wear a well-fitting mask around others and in public for 5 more days after you end your isolation at home.

Confused about the new quarantine and isolation guidelines? Learn how long you need to stay home after testing positive or being exposed to COVID-19.

Download PDF

Wearing a mask around others is important after you test positive for COVID-19, even if you don’t feel sick. Wear a mask around others in your own home and in public for 5 more days after you end your isolation at home. If you can’t isolate at home for at least 5 days, wear a well-fitting mask around others for the 10 days after you test positive. A high-quality mask like a KN95 or double masking (this means wearing two masks at the same time) may provide more protection for other people who will be exposed to you.

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You don’t need to get tested again to end your isolation. If you want to get tested before returning to normal activities (like work or school), we recommend you get a rapid antigen test (or use an at-home test) instead of a PCR test. Some people can test positive with a PCR test even after they are no longer able to spread the virus to other people. If your rapid antigen test result is positive after 5 days of isolation, it’s best to stay at home for another 5 days (a total of 10 days after you tested positive the first time). However, you can retest with another rapid antigen test again 24 hours later and if it’s negative, you can end isolation at home. 

Some people may need to isolate or quarantine for longer than 5 days because the place where they live or work puts them and others at high risk of COVID. People who live or work in a congregate setting like a correctional facility (prison), long-term care facility, or homeless shelter should follow these guidelines from the CDC. Healthcare workers should follow these guidelines from the CDC. People who are immunocompromised or who have severe illness with COVID (this means they were hospitalized, in the ICU, or on a ventilator) may also need to isolate longer. Talk to your healthcare provider about what guidelines to follow if you are immunocompromised or had severe illness.


What should I do after testing positive? 

Stay at home except to get medical care. You should not travel or go to work, school, extracurricular activities, religious services, family gatherings, or other activities.

  • Try to stay in a different room in your home from other people. It’s important to stay away from people who are at high risk of severe illness while you are infectious. Try to use a different bathroom than other people you live with. If you can’t stay in a different room or use a different bathroom, wear a mask if you need to be around other people. 
  • Don’t share personal items like cups, plates, or towels. 
  • Clean surfaces that are touched often (like phones, doorknobs, light switches, toilet handles, sink handles, countertops, and anything metal). 
  • Open the windows as much as possible to help with air flow and ventilation. 
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Call a doctor or seek medical care right away if your symptoms get worse or you feel like you need medical care. It is safe to go to the hospital or doctor’s office. Wear a mask and let the healthcare workers know you have tested positive for COVID-19. If you have any of these emergency warning signs, get medical help right away: 

  • Pain or pressure in your chest that does not go away 
  • Feeling confused or cannot wake up easily 
  • If your lips or face look bluish 
  • Trouble breathing or shortness of breath 

Who needs to quarantine after being around me? 

You are infectious and can spread the virus to others starting up to 2 days before you first had symptoms until your isolation period is over. If you never had symptoms, you are infectious starting 2 days before the day you were tested for COVID-19. Anyone who came into close contact with you during this time should take precautions and may need to quarantine at home.

A public health worker will try to contact you if you test positive to conduct a case investigation. They will ask you about where you may have gotten COVID and who else may have been exposed. Sometimes people call this contact tracing. A public health worker may call you or send you a text or email.


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You may qualify for treatment if you’ve tested positive for COVID-19 and are at high risk for severe illness. Talk to your doctor or use our risk score calculator to find out if you may qualify.

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Quarantine

You should quarantine if you are exposed to COVID-19. This means you were in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 while that person was infectious. Quarantine keeps you away from others so you don’t infect someone else without knowing it.

Close contact means:

  • You were closer than 6 feet from someone who has the virus for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or longer in a 24 hour period.
  • You cared for someone at home who is sick with COVID-19.
  • You had direct physical contact with the person who has COVID-19 (hugged or kissed them). 
  • You shared eating or drinking utensils with the person who has COVID-19. 
  • The person who has COVID-19 sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on you.

If you are exposed to COVID-19

You need to wear a mask around others if you are exposed to COVID-19. You may also need to quarantine at home. 

A public health worker may try to contact you if you were exposed to COVID-19. This is called contact tracing. They may call you or send you a text or email. You may also get a notification from Google or Apple. 



If your child is exposed to COVID-19

Download PDF: English



If your child is exposed to COVID-19


Download PDF: English

You don’t need to quarantine at home if:

  • You are up-to-date with your COVID-19 vaccinations. This means you’ve had a booster dose, or had a 2nd dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine within the last 5 months, or had the Johnson & Johnson vaccine within the last 2 months. Children ages 5-17 are up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccinations if they have had 2 doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Children don’t need a booster dose to be considered up-to-date right now. If you are immunocompromised, you are up-to-date with your COVID-19 vaccinations if you also had your additional primary dose
  • You tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days (about 3 months) and don’t have any symptoms. We know some people can test positive even after they are no longer able to spread the virus to other people.

You can continue to go to work and participate in activities outside of your house. However, you should wear a well-fitting mask around others and in public for 10 days after your exposure (called the date of exposure). Wearing a mask around others is important, even if you don’t quarantine at home. This helps keep others safe. If you can’t wear a mask around others for the 10 days after your exposure, you need to quarantine at home. A high-quality mask like a KN95 or double masking (this means wearing two masks at the same time) may provide more protection for other people who will be exposed to you.

We recommend you get tested 5 days after your last close contact with the person who has COVID-19 to make sure you are not possibly spreading the virus to others. If you test positive or develop symptoms, isolate at home right away. If it’s been less than 90 days (about 3 months) since you first tested positive for COVID-19 and you don’t have any new symptoms, you don’t need to get tested again during this 90-day timeframe.

Watch for symptoms of COVID-19 and get tested right away if you get sick.


You must quarantine at home for at least 5 days if:

  • You are unvaccinated. This means you haven’t had any doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. 
  • You are not up-to-date with your COVID-19 vaccinations. This means you haven’t had a booster dose yet and it’s been longer than 5 months since you had a 2nd dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or longer than 2 months for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. It can also mean you’ve only had 1 dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Children ages 5-17 are not up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccinations if they’ve only had 1 dose of the Pfizer vaccine; booster doses are not included in the quarantine guidelines for children right now.  
  • It’s been more than 90 days (about 3 months) since you tested positive for COVID-19 and you are not up-to-date with your vaccinations. Studies show natural immunity - or immunity from having COVID-19 - may only last about 3-6 months. Early data also shows the Omicron variant may cause more reinfections during the 90-days after an infection than previous variants did.  

You can end your quarantine at home after 5 full days if you don’t have any symptoms. You can return to work, school, and other activities as long as you wear a well-fitting mask around others and in public for 5 more days after you end quarantine at home. This helps keep others safe. A high-quality mask like a KN95 or double masking (this means wearing two masks at the same time) may provide more protection for other people who will be exposed to you.

We recommend you get tested 5 days after your last close contact with the person who has COVID-19 to make sure you are not possibly spreading the virus to others. If you test negative at this time, you can end quarantine at home. If you can’t get tested after 5 days of quarantine, or choose not to get tested, you need to stay at home until it has been 10 days from the last time you came into close contact with the person who has COVID-19. If you test positive, isolate at home

Watch for symptoms of COVID-19 and get tested right away if you get sick.

Some people may need to quarantine or isolate for longer than 5 days because the place where they live or work puts them and others at high risk of COVID. People who live or work in a congregate setting like a correctional facility (prison), long-term care facility, or homeless shelter should follow these guidelines from the CDC. Healthcare workers should follow these guidelines from the CDC. People who are immunocompromised or who have severe illness with COVID (this means they were hospitalized, in the ICU, or on a ventilator) may also need to isolate longer. Talk to your healthcare provider about what guidelines to follow if you are immunocompromised or had severe illness. 

Confused about the new quarantine and isolation guidelines? Learn how long you need to stay home after testing positive or being exposed to COVID-19.

Download PDF

Do I need to quarantine at home if I live with someone who has COVID-19?

People who live with someone who has COVID-19 are called household contacts. Household contacts are at a much higher risk of getting infected with the virus.

You will need to quarantine at home for at least 5 days if you live with someone who has COVID-19 and you are unvaccinated, or not up-to-date with your COVID-19 vaccinations, or it’s been more than 90 days since you had COVID-19. It can be very hard to stay away from people who have COVID-19 and live in your home. This means you may need to quarantine at home longer than 5 days if you can’t stay away from the person who has COVID-19. Every time you come into close contact with the person who tested positive while they are still in isolation, your quarantine starts over. 

Keep yourself and others in the house safe by wearing a mask around the person who has COVID-19. Get tested right away if you get sick or have symptoms, even if they are mild.


What should I do if I quarantine at home?

  • Limit the number of visitors to your home while you are in quarantine.
  • Wear a mask around others. After you end your quarantine at home, it’s important to wear a mask in public and around others until it has been 10 days since you were exposed to COVID-19. Avoid going to places where it is hard to wear a mask during these 10 days, such as a gym or restaurant. 
  • Check for symptoms of COVID-19 every day for 10 days after your exposure, including taking your temperature if possible. A helpful booklet called, “What to do if you are in quarantine or isolation” can help you know how to check your symptoms and what to do. Get tested right away if you have symptoms of COVID-19 during quarantine.
  • Get tested at least 5 days after you last had close contact with the person who has COVID-19. If you test negative, you can leave your home as long as you wear a mask around others. If you test positive, isolate at home.  
  • Stay away from people who are immunocompromised or at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19. You should not visit a long-term care facility, nursing home, or other high risk setting until it has been at least 10 days since you were exposed to COVID-19.
  • Don’t travel until your quarantine is over. Get tested at least 5 days after you were exposed and make sure your test result is negative before traveling. Don’t travel if you have symptoms of COVID-19. Wear a mask around others if you travel. 

How do I know when I can end quarantine?

You should quarantine 5 full days from your date of exposure. The date of exposure is the last day you were exposed to the person who was infectious with COVID-19. We call this day 0 of your quarantine. This means you begin quarantine on day 0 (called the date of exposure or the last time you were in close contact with the person who has COVID-19) and end 5 full days later (days 1-5).  

Remember, if you live with someone who has COVID-19 and need to quarantine at home,  your 5-day quarantine starts AFTER the person who is positive is done with isolation. This means you may be in quarantine longer than 5 days if you can’t stay isolated from each other.


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Do I have to quarantine at home if I’ve already had COVID-19?

If it has been less than 90 days (about 3 months) since you tested positive for COVID-19, you don’t have to quarantine at home. The CDC and Utah Department of Health recommends you not get tested if it’s been less than 90 days (about 3 months) since you first tested positive for COVID-19, as long as you don’t have new or worsening symptoms. Call a doctor to see if you may have gotten reinfected if you have new or worse symptoms during this 90-day timeframe. We know there is a small chance you could get reinfected with COVID. Some people will continue to test positive even though they are no longer able to spread the virus to others. However, if it’s been more than 90 days since you tested positive, you need to quarantine at home and get tested 5 days after your exposure. 

You should follow these guidelines for 10 days from the date of your last exposure:

  • Check for symptoms of COVID-19 every day. 
  • Wear a well-fitting mask when you are around people you don’t live with. 
  • If you get sick or have symptoms of COVID-19, isolate and call a doctor or healthcare provider to determine if you should get tested for COVID-19 again.

Getting vaccinated will help keep you, your family, and your community healthy and safe.

All COVID-19 vaccines approved or authorized by the FDA and CDC are safe and effective. They help keep you from getting severely ill, needing to be hospitalized, and dying from COVID-19. You should get a COVID-19 booster dose if you are eligible for one. Booster doses give you even greater protection from the Omicron variant. Breakthrough infections can happen, but people who are vaccinated are less likely than unvaccinated people to get COVID-19, or to be hospitalized or die from COVID-19. 

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The CDC considers a person up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccinations if you’ve had:

  • A booster dose of any COVID-19 vaccine, or 
  • A 2nd dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in the last 5 months, or 
  • A Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine in the last 2 months. 
  • Children younger than 18 are considered up-to-date if they’ve had 2 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. A booster dose is not included in the definition of up-to-date yet for children. 

 The CDC also uses the term fully vaccinated. Fully vaccinated means it has been 2 weeks or longer since you had your final dose of a primary series of the COVID-19 vaccine. For Pfizer or Moderna, a primary series is 2 doses of the same vaccine. For Johnson & Johnson, a primary series is a single dose of the vaccine. 

Quarantine guidelines are based on whether a person is up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccinations. This is a change from prior guidelines which used fully vaccinated to determine who needed to quarantine at home. The reason for this change is because data shows immunity from both vaccination and natural infection wane over time. A booster dose provides additional protection from the Omicron variant.  

You can get vaccinated as soon as you are no longer in isolation or quarantine and you don’t have any symptoms of COVID-19. If you received monoclonal antibodies, you will need to wait 90 days to get vaccinated. 

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How do COVID-19 vaccinations affect quarantine and isolation guidelines?

You are considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after your final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

  • Two-dose vaccines: 2 weeks after 2nd shot (Pfizer BioNTech (Comirnaty) and Moderna).
  • One-dose vaccines: 2 weeks after shot (Johnson & Johnson/Janssen).

This means you don’t have to quarantine if it has been 2 weeks since your final shot, even if you are exposed to someone who tests positive. Fully vaccinated people do not need to quarantine and can continue to go to work, school, and participate in events. 


What to do if you are exposed to COVID-19:


If you have never had a COVID-19 vaccine:


Quarantine at home and get tested for COVID-19.

If you are partially vaccinated. This means it it has been less than 2 weeks since your final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine:


Quarantine at home and get tested for COVID-19.

If you are fully vaccinated. This means it has been at least 2 weeks since your final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine:


Get tested for COVID-19. You don’t have to quarantine at home but you should wear a mask around other people for 10 days after your exposure. Isolate at home and get tested again if you get symptoms of COVID-19 within the 2 weeks after your exposure.

If it’s been less than 180 days since you tested positive for COVID-19:


You don’t have to quarantine at home but you should wear a mask around other people for 10 days after your exposure. Isolate at home if you get symptoms of COVID-19 within the 2 weeks after your exposure. The CDC and Utah Department of Health recommends you not get tested again if it’s been less than 90 days (about 3 months) since you first tested positive for COVID-19. However, if it’s been between 90-180 days (3-6 months) since you tested positive, you should get tested again.

If it’s been more than 180 days since you tested positive for COVID-19:


Quarantine at home and get tested for COVID-19.

Masks protect you and others from COVID-19.

The science is clear, wearing face masks helps prevent the spread of COVID-19. Masks also protect and help strengthen our economy

Viruses, like the SARS-COV-2 virus that causes COVID-19, are inside the aerosols and droplets we breathe and exhale. It’s those respiratory droplets that masks help to block and why face masks are so effective in helping to prevent COVID-19 from spreading.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC recommend everyone in a school wear a mask at this time, whether or not they are fully vaccinated. The CDC also recommends all people, even if they are vaccinated, wear a mask indoors if they live in an area with high transmission.

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Hygiene practices

Good hygiene practices are some of the best ways to fight any illness. This includes COVID-19.

  • Try not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands often for 20 seconds with soap and water. If you do not have soap and water, use hand sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue. Do not use your hands.
  • Do not shake hands or touch other people. Use other ways to greet people without touching.
  • Try not to touch surfaces many people touch.
  • Use products in EPA List N to clean and disinfect surfaces every day that are touched often.
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Travel recommendations

Travel increases the chance you may get infected or spread COVID-19. Try to limit non-essential travel during the COVID-19 pandemic as much as you can.

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Holiday safety tips

The pandemic has been stressful and isolating for many people. We want everyone to have a great holiday season. The safest holiday gathering is with those who live in your home. If you are planning winter holiday activities or a gathering, we have some tips and recommendations to keep you and your family safe and to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

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