Whether or not you have been vaccinated against COVID-19, follow this isolation and post-exposure guidance:
- If You DO NOT Develop Symptoms
- Watch for symptoms
- You do not need to isolate unless you develop symptoms or test positive
- Watch for symptoms until 10 days after you last had close contact with someone with COVID-19
- Wear a high-quality mask (N95) for 10 full days any time you are around others, including inside your home or in public
- Do not go to places where you are unable to wear a well-fitting mask, including travel and public transportation
- Get tested on day 6
- Avoid being around people who are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19
- If You Develop Symptoms
- Isolate immediately and get tested
- Continue to isolate until you know the results
- Wear a well-fitting mask around others
- Take precautions until day 11
- Isolate if you are sick and suspect you have COVID-19 but have not received your test results
- If You Test Negative
- The test did not detect the virus, but doesn’t rule out an infection
- Continue to take precautions until day 10
- Consider testing again
- 2 days (48 hours) after your first negative test. Some self-tests are designed to be used in a series (also known as serial testing). Multiple negative tests increase the confidence that you are not infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.
- If you are going to an indoor event or a gathering. Testing should be done immediately before the gathering, or as close to the time of the event as possible. Wear a mask to prevent spread of disease. This is especially important before gathering with individuals at risk of severe disease, older adults, those who are immunocompromised, or people who are not up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines, including children who cannot get vaccinated yet.
- If You Test Positive
The test detected the virus and you have an infection
Stay isolated for at least 5 days
Tell your close contacts about your positive infection
Wear a well-fitted mask when around others through day 10. If available, a N95 or KN95 respirator is recommended.
Watch for symptoms. If you have any emergency warning signs, seek emergency care immediately.
Tell your healthcare provider. Contact them as soon as possible if:
Your symptoms get worse.
You are more likely to get very sick because you are an older adult or have an underlying medical condition. Treatment may be available for you.
You have questions about your isolation.
Testing to End Isolation
If you have access to antigen tests, you should consider using them
With two sequential negative tests 48 hours apart done on Day 6 and Day 8, you may remove your mask sooner than the 10th day of isolation
Ask About Treatment
If you test positive and are an older adult or someone who is at high risk of getting very sick from COVID-19,
treatment may be available. Contact a healthcare provider right away after a positive test, to determine if you are eligible, even if your symptoms are mild right now. You can also visit a Test to Treat location and, if eligible, receive a prescription from a provider. Don’t delay: treatment must be started within the first few days to be effective.
Download a Flowchart
Review this flowchart to determine how long to isolate after exposure to COVID-19.
Guidance for Congregate Living
COVID-19 is most likely to be transmitted via person-to-person contact. Therefore, congregate living quarters must manage communal areas appropriately to reduce spread.
Austin Public Health has created COVID-19 Guidance for Congregate Living Facilities to mitigate the spread of the disease.
If you are concerned about exposure to COVID-19 or have symptoms, visit austintexas.gov/covid-testinfo to find out how to get tested. Or visit Vaccines.gov (Vacunas.gov in Spanish) to find the nearest testing location. Call 3-1-1 or 512-978-8775 if you need to speak to someone about getting tested for COVID-19.
To read about the resources available for COVID-19, visit austintexas.gov/covid19-resources.