Self-Monitor, Quarantine & Isolation

As the number of coronavirus cases grows in the U.S., we're hearing a lot about self-monitoring, isolation, and quarantine. But what do those terms mean, and when do they apply?


Who should do it?
People without symptoms, but who had a low-risk exposure, like being in an airport, restaurant, or in the same building at the same time as someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19.
What is it?
  • Practice social distancing.
  • Check and record your temperature 2x a day and watch for symptoms.
  • If symptoms develop, CALL your doctor to explain symptoms and possible exposure before going in.


Who should do it?
People without symptoms, but who have a higher potential of becoming sick because of where they traveled or having had close contact with someone being tested for COVID-19.
What is it?
  • Stay home 24/7 and self-monitor for 14 days.
  • Family and roommates should practice social distancing.
  • If symptoms develop, CALL your doctor.

 Monitored Quarantine

Who should do it?
International travelers and identified close contacts of people who have tested positive for COVID-19.
What is it?
  • Same steps as self-quarantine.
  • Report to Health Department if symptoms develop during your 14 days of quarantine.


Who should do it?
People sick with symptoms of COVID-19 but not sick enough to be hospitalized.
What is it?
  • Stay in a separate room from other household members.
  • Use a separate bathroom if possible. If you use the same bathroom, keep toothbrushes separate and disinfect all surfaces after each use.
  • Family/roommates should avoid contact with sick person and practice self-quarantine and monitoring.
  • Wear a mask if you go into shared spaces.
  • Stop isolation when the following conditions are met:
    • If symptomatic: At least 10 days after symptoms began AND 24 hours after no fever without fever reducing medications and symptoms have improved.
    • If non-symptomatic: 10 days after positive test taken if no symptoms develop. Additional testing may be done at a healthcare provider’s discretion. If so, isolation can be discontinued following two tests (collected > 24 hours apart) each with a negative result.

 Self-Monitoring Guidance

Stay home and monitor for symptoms if you have had contact with a person who has tested positive with COVID-19 or traveled to an impacted area.

Monitor your Health

Using the Symptom Log, monitor your health and record symptoms two times a day; every morning and night for 14 days.

  • Watch for symptoms: cough, difficulty breathing, sore throat, runny nose or a fever
  • Write down any symptoms you experience
  • Take your temperature twice a day and write it down. Before you take your temperature:
    • Wait 30 minutes after eating, drinking or exercising
    • Wait 6 hours after taking medicines that can lower your temperature: acetaminophen/ paracetamol, ibuprofen or aspirin
    • Clean thermometer with soap and water after use

If you have a fever of 100.4 F (38C), cough or trouble breathing:

  • If this is a life threatening emergency call 911
  • Call your doctor’s office or emergency department before seeking care and explain your symptoms and that you are self-monitoring.

Protect Others’ Health and Safety

During your self-monitoring period practice good health habits:

  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds and help young children do the same. If soap and water is not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or cough/sneeze into your upper sleeve. Immediately throw away used tissue in the trash, then wash hands
  • Avoid close contact with others, sharing cups or sharing eating utensils
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs
  • Practice good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food
  • Do not travel, unless you are seeking medical care. Call ahead before seeking care