What to do if I am Exposed FAQs
Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)?
- If you live in the same house or are an intimate partner, caregiver, or a close contact with someone with symptoms of COVID-19 you will need to quarantine at home for at least 14 days. Close contact means being within 6 feet of a person with COVID-19 symptoms for more than 10 minutes, or having contact with their body fluids, and/or secretions (such as sweat, saliva, sputum, nasal mucus, vomit, urine, or diarrhea). For details, including how long
you need to quarantine, see Home quarantine guidance for those exposed to COVID-19.
- If you have not had close contact with someone with COVID-19 and feel well, monitor your health for 14 days for symptoms o f COVID-19 such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath. You, like everyone else, should also take actions to protect yourself and others such as practicing good hygiene and social distancing (see below).
What should I do if I have symptoms and think I may have been exposed to COVID-19?
- During the current outbreak it is likely that many people with cold and flu-like symptoms have COVID-19. Most people do not need to see a doctor or get a test for COVID-19 because they will have a mild illness and get better at home. However, people should call their doctor early if they are 65 years and older, pregnant, or have a health problem such as a chronic disease or a weak immune system, because they are at higher risk of serious illness.
- You need to remain home for at least 3 days (72 hours) after recovery which means your fever has resolved without the use of fever-reducing medications and there is improvement in your respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath), AND at least 7 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared.
- Seek prompt medical care if your symptoms get worse and if they are life-threatening, call 911. For more information see Home Care Instructions for People with Respiratory Symptoms.
Can I get tested for COVID-19?
- There are still serious limitations to testing capacity in LA. If you do not have symptoms, there is no need to get tested. If you do have symptoms, you do not need to be tested just to confirm the infection. Call your provider if you have concerns or questions about the need for testing.
How is COVID-19 treated?
- There is no specific treatment for COVID-19 and no vaccine to prevent it, but many of the symptoms can be treated. Be aware of scam products for sale that make false claims to prevent or treat this new infection.
How can I protect myself and others from COVID-19?
- Practice social distancing – stay home (except for essential activities like buying food), avoid crowds and stay at least 6 feet away from others when possible. See Guide to social distancing for more information.
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and then dispose of the tissue and clean your hands immediately.
- Limit close contact with people who are sick.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray orwipes. See Cleaning in the Home instructions.
For more information and the guides described in this FAQ, visit www.publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus/
- If you have questions and would like to speak to someone, or need help finding medical care or mental health services, call the Los Angeles County Information line 2-1-1, which is available 24/7.
DOWNLOAD A PDF OF THE COVID-19 FAQ’S HERE: COVID-19 FAQ’S
Home quarantine guidance for close contacts to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
This guidance is for people who were in close contact with someone with Coronavirus Disease 2019. If you are a health care worker or first responder, please refer to guidance from your employer.
Why am I being asked to self-quarantine?
- You have been in close contact with someone who has Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and even though you feel well now, it is possible that you are also infected. It can take 2 – 14 days to show symptoms, so we may not know for up to 14 days if you are infected or not. You have been asked to self-quarantine in case you are infected so that you don’t pass on the infection to anyone else. It may turn out that you are not infected but it is too soon to tell.
How long do I need to self-quarantine?
Your last day of quarantine is 14 days from when you were last in contact with the person with COVID-19. If you continue to live with and/or care for the person with COVID-19, the quarantine guidance is as follows:
- Your quarantine will end 14 days after the household started to follow the Home Isolation Instructions.
- If there is close contact with a person with COVID-19 (being within 6 feet for more than 10 minutes or touching body fluids or secretions without using the appropriate precautions) the 14-day quarantine period will have to restart. Body fluids or secretions include sweat, saliva, sputum, nasal mucus, vomit, urine, or diarrhea.
- If you are unable to avoid close contact, you should stay in quarantine for 14 days after the person with COVID-19 was told they were “cleared” to stop their own isolation. This is likely to be at least 21 days.
What are the restrictions?
You must restrict activities and limit all movements that may put you in contact with others during the quarantine period.
- Stay home. Do not go to work, school, or public areas.
- Do not allow visitors and limit the number of people in your home.
- Separate yourself from others in your home.
- Stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home as much as possible. It is very important to stay away from people who are at higher risk of serious illness. This includes people who are age 65 years and older, pregnant or have a health problem such as a chronic disease or a weak immune system. Consider different living arrangements for these high-risk people if possible
- Use a separate bathroom, if available.
- Try to stay at least 6 feet away from others.
- Do not handle pets or other animals.
- Do not prepare or serve food to others.
- Avoid caring for children if possible.
Can I leave my residence to run errands?
- If you do not have someone to help you, arrange for food and other necessities to be left at your door. If you have no choice but to go out for essential supplies and you still have no symptoms, you can go out but be as quick as you can, go at a time when the store is not as busy, and stay at least 6 feet away from others as much as possible.
- You can go on a private balcony or yard or walk outside if you can stay at least 6 feet away from others.
Can I use public transport?
- If you must leave home, do not use public transport. Use a private vehicle if possible. If you cannot drive yourself, make sure to maintain as much distance as possible between you and the driver and leave windows down.
Will Public Health notify my workplace or school?
- Public Health will not notify or release any personal information about you to your workplace or school unless it is necessary to do so to protect your health or the health of others.
Should I wear a mask?
- The CDC now recommends wearing a mask to further prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
- Click here to download instructions on how to make a homemade mask and use them properly: COVID-19 Masks
- Watch this video to get additional information including instructions on how to make a homemade mask:
How should I monitor my health during this period?
Monitor your health for signs and symptoms of COVID-19:
- Shortness of breath or trouble breathing.
- Other early symptoms to watch for are chills, body aches, sore throat, headache, diarrhea, nausea/vomiting, and runny nose.
What if I develop symptoms?
- If you develop cold or flu-like symptoms, you may have COVID-19. Most people with COVID-19 will have mild illness and can get better with the proper home care and without the need to see a provider. If you are 65 years and older, pregnant, or have a health condition such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, kidney disease, or a weakened immune system you are at a higher risk of more serious illness or complications. Monitor your symptoms closely and seek medical care early if they get worse. You do not need to be tested just to confirm infection as most persons with a respiratory infection, including COVID-19, will have mild illness which can get better with home care. You do need to remain home for at least 7 days from the onset of symptoms or 3 days after your fever is completely gone and your respiratory symptoms are better, whichever is longer. Call your provider if you have concerns or questions about the need for testing. You should continue to isolate yourself. Follow the guidance Home Care Instructions for People with Respiratory Symptoms. If symptoms worsen or continue and you need to seek medical care, call your healthcare provider in advance, or 9-1-1 in an emergency, and let them know you are a close contact to a person with confirmed COVID-19.
What should I do if I have additional questions?
- Visit our website publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus/ for more information and guidance. Please call your health care provider for any questions related to your health. If you need help finding a health care provider, call 2-1-1, the County information line.