Champaign-Urbana Public Health District

Isolation and Quarantine Guidance

Quarantine vs. Isolation

differences between quarantine and isolation

Positive Cases

Isolation Guidance

Anyone with a positive COVID-19 test result is referred to as a “case.” Cases must stay home until it's safe for them to be around others; this is called isolation. They should not leave their home for any reason except to seek emergency medical care.

People who test positive for COVID-19 should isolate away from others for a minimum of 5 days.

The criterion for ending isolation depends on the positive case's symptoms:

  • If they have symptoms, the criteria for ending isolation include:
    • 5 days have passed since their symptoms began (The date of symptoms onset counts as day zero of isolation). AND
    • Their fever has gone away and other symptoms are significantly improving (If they have a fever, they should continue to isolate until they are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications). AND
    • They can wear a well-fitted mask around others for an additional 5 days to minimize risk of infecting others. Do not go places where you are unable to wear a mask and avoid travel and being around people who are at high risk until after at least 10 days.

If you were severely ill with COVID-19 or are immunocompromised, you should isolate for at least 10 days and, if possible, consult with your doctor before ending isolation.

  • If they do not have symptoms and do not develop symptoms, there are two main criteria for ending isolation:
    • 5 days have passed since their positive test AND
    • They can wear a mask around others for an additional 5 days to minimize risk of infecting others. Do not go places where you are unable to wear a mask and avoid being around people who are at high risk until after at least 10 days.

Please note: this guidance is for the general population and not intended for healthcare workers and certain high-risk congregate settings. Healthcare workers that have tested positive for COVID-19 can visit this website for additional guidance for additional guidance. If you work or attend a day care or a high-risk congregate setting (e.g., nursing home, correctional facility), you may need to isolate for a total of 10 days.

Reporting Positive COVID Test Results

All lab-confirmed positive COVID-19 test results are reported to public health authorities. These cases are entered into the state's data systems. If there is a cell phone number associated with the case, they will receive an automated text message from public health that reads:

"IDPH COVID: There is important info for you. Call 312-777-1999 or click:
https://dph.illinois.gov/covid19/community-guidance/confirmed-or-possible-covid-19.html"

Currently, C-UPHD is only reaching out to individuals aged 50 and older to complete a case investigation interview. All other individuals seeking to complete a case investigation interview can reach us at 217-531-4934 or via email: coronavirus@c-uphd.org. This phone number and email can be used for general COVID-related guidance, questions, and requests.

At-Home Test

Persons who test positive using an at-home test should follow the Isolation Guidance above. People who test positive with an at-home/rapid/self-test will not be monitored by CUPHD and will not be issued a release letter. As a courtesy, CUPHD has created a replacement letter that can be presented to employers, workplaces or schools so long as the positive case can attest to 1) they have followed public health guidance for isolation and 2) can confirm their test date with their workplace/school. Click here to download the letter.

It's important to remember that rapid antigen tests are not a substitute for other COVID-19 precautions, such as vaccines, proper masking, and handwashing

Close Contacts

Quarantine Guidance

A close contact as an individual who is not up to date with their vaccinations against COVID-19 and was within 6 feet of a person with COVID-19 for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period anytime from 2 days before symptom onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to test specimen collection) until the time the case is isolated. (For definitions of close contacts in a school setting, please see IDPH's School Guidance). These "close contacts" should quarantine, or as an alternative to exclusion, schools may permit close contacts who are asymptomatic to be on the school premises if the exposure occurred during the school day while the contact and case were fully masked and the contact tests negative while adhering to the Test-To-Stay Procedures.

Whether or not a person needs to quarantine depends on if they are up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines.

Individuals who are not up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines are people who:
  • Are 12 or older and completed the primary series of recommended vaccine (Pfizer/Moderna) but have not received a recommended booster shot when eligible.
    • For those that received Pfizer or Moderna, they are eligible for a booster 5 months after the primary series.
  • Have received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine (completing the primary series) over 2 months ago and have not received a recommended booster shot.
  • Are not vaccinated or have not completed a primary vaccine series

If you are moderately or severely immunocompromised, please read the specific COVID-19 vaccine primary series and booster recommendations for you.

If someone has an exposure to someone with COVID-19 and they are not up to date on their COVID vaccines, they should follow the quarantine guidance below:
  • Stay home for 5 days—the last day of contact with the positive person should be treated as day 0. After that, continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others for 5 additional days. Do not go places where you are unable to wear a mask and avoid travel and being around people who are at high risk until after at least 10 days.
  • Test on day 5, if possible.
  • If COVID-19-like symptoms develop at any time, get tested and stay home.
Individuals are not required to quarantine, but should test on day 5, if they are up to date on their COVID-19 vaccinations, meaning they have:
  • Received a booster shot when eligible OR
  • Completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna within the last 5 months OR
  • Completed the primary series of J&J vaccine within the last 2 months

Individuals (vaccinated or not) who tested positive in the last 90 days also do not have to quarantine after an exposure. Monitor for COVID-19 symptoms and stay away from others if symptoms develop and consult with a healthcare provider to discuss next steps.

For a simple graphic of what to do if you test positive for COVID-19 or are exposed to someone with COVID-19, click here.

Information for UIUC Staff & Students