Close Contacts and Quarantine: COVID-19 - Minnesota Dept. of Health
CDC has updated their COVID-19 guidance to help you better understand how to protect yourself and others, and what to do if you test positive or are exposed. More information is available at CDC: How to Protect Yourself and Others. MDH is actively working on updating our website and materials.

Close Contacts and Quarantine: COVID-19

On this page:
Setting-specific recommendations
Who does not need to quarantine
Who needs to quarantine
More information

You can spread COVID-19 to others starting a couple days before you have any symptoms, and even if you never have any symptoms. If you spend time close to someone with COVID-19, you may have it, too, but you may not know it. It is important to separate yourself from others when this happens, to keep from spreading the virus to others.

For more detailed guidance on isolation and quarantine, refer to CDC: Quarantine and Isolation. Use the CDC Quarantine and Isolation Calculator to determine how long you may need to stay home and away from others.

If symptoms develop, isolate and test immediately for COVID-19. This includes people who are vaccinated or who had confirmed COVID-19 in the past three months.

Exposure or close contact: Spending a total of 15 minutes or more in a 24-hour period within 6 feet or less of people with COVID-19.

In the K–12 indoor classroom setting the close contact definition excludes students who were between 3 to 6 feet of an infected student if both the infected student and the exposed students correctly and consistently wore well-fitting masks the entire time. This exception does not apply to teachers, staff, or other adults in the indoor classroom setting. For more information about close contacts in schools, refer to Schools and Child Care COVID-19: Best Practice Recommendations.

Quarantine: Staying home and away from others when you may have had close contact with (exposure to) the virus.

Isolation: Staying home and away from others when you test positive, feel sick, or have symptoms of COVID-19.

Well-fitting mask: A mask that fits snugly over your nose, mouth, and chin, without gaps at the edges. Visit Masks: COVID-19 for more information.

Immunocompromised: A person with a weakened immune system. The immune system is how the body fights disease.

Setting-specific recommendations

These recommendations do not apply to certain high-risk settings. Refer to the following guidance on isolation or quarantine in health care settings or other high-risk group (congregate) settings:

Who does not need to quarantine

If you have had a close contact with someone with COVID-19, you do not need to quarantine if:

After exposure to the virus, you should still

  • Wear a well-fitting mask for 10 days when around others, even at home. The 10 days start from the day after your last close contact with someone with COVID-19. The actual day of close contact is counted as day zero.
  • Watch for symptoms for 10 days after close contact.
    • If symptoms develop, stay home and away from others (isolate) and test immediately for COVID-19. Start counting again from day zero (day one is the first full day after your symptoms start) and follow isolation recommendations at If You Are Sick or Test Positive. This includes people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past three months, even if they are up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines.

If you are up to date on vaccinations:

  • Get tested at least five days after close contact. If you test positive, start counting again from day zero and follow isolation recommendations at If You Are Sick or Test Positive.

Timeline for those not needing to quarantine showing 10 days with a mask and getting tested on day 5, watch for symptoms

If you had COVID-19 in the past three months:

  • You do not need to get tested at five days after close contact if you do not have symptoms.

Timeline for those not needing to quarantine showing 10 days with a mask and watch for symptoms

Who needs to quarantine

If you have had close contact with someone with COVID-19, you need to quarantine if:

For people who need to quarantine:

  • Stay at home for at least five full days after your last close contact with someone with COVID-19. Refer to the special categories below, which have more specific information about how long you must quarantine.
    • Count your last day of close contact with someone with COVID-19 as day zero.
    • Day one starts the day after your last close contact.
  • If possible, stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home.
    • Use a separate bathroom if you can.
    • Avoid sharing personal household items (e.g., food, dishes, towels, or bedding).
  • Avoid public transportation, ride-sharing (such as Uber or Lyft), or taxis.

Find the category below that describes you, for more quarantine information:

Count the day of your last contact with someone with COVID-19 as day zero:

  • Wear a well-fitting mask for 10 days whenever you are around other people, even at home. Refer to CDC: Improve How Your Mask Protects You
  • Stay home for five full days.
  • Test on day five, if possible.
    • If you test positive, start counting again from day zero and follow isolation recommendations at If You Are Sick or Test Positive.
    • If you test negative, finish your full five days in quarantine.
  • On days six through 10:
    • Avoid people who are immunocompromised or at high risk of severe disease and the settings where you may find these people.
    • Avoid travel. If you must travel, wear a well-fitting mask.
    • Avoid places where you need to remove your mask (e.g., gyms, restaurants).
    • Continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others.

Timeline of wearhing mask for 10 days, stay home for 5 days, get tested on day 5 and if negative return to most activities until day 10 and then most activities on day 11

This includes people under age 2, people with certain disabilities, and others who cannot consistently wear a mask around others.

  • Stay home and away from others for 10 days. Day one starts the day after your last contact with someone with COVID-19.
  • Get tested on day five.
    • If you test positive, start counting again from day zero and follow isolation recommendations at If You Are Sick or Test Positive.
    • If you test negative, continue to quarantine for the full 10 days.
  • If you develop symptoms, get tested and follow the guidance for isolation (linked in the previous bullet), starting from day zero.

Timeline of staying home for 10 days, get tested on day 5 and if negative return to normal activities on day 11

If you live with someone with COVID-19 and are not up to date on recommended COVID-19 vaccines, stay home during the ill person's isolation period and then begin your quarantine period on the day that the ill person's isolation period ends. Count the last day of their isolation as day zero. Day one of your quarantine starts the day after their isolation period ends. Follow quarantine guidelines above for how long to stay home and away from others. People who are up to date on recommended COVID-19 vaccines including boosters when due do not need to stay home or quarantine, but should follow other guidance above for wearing masks, watching for symptoms, and testing.

If you are able to wear a well-fitting mask

Timeline starting from the last day of isolation for person in home, stay home for 5 days, get tested and if negative return to most activities masked until day 11 and then return to normal activites

If you are unable to wear a well-fitting mask

Timeline starting from the last day of isolation for person in home, stay home for 10 days, get tested on day 5 and if negative return to activities on day 11

For more information on this guidance, visit CDC: Quarantine and Isolation.

More information

Download the free COVIDaware MN app to get notified if you have been near someone who tests positive for COVID-19.

Updated Wednesday, 10-Aug-2022 15:48:59 CDT