What to do if you were potentially exposed to someone with confirmed coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
If you think you have been exposed to someone with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19, follow the steps below to monitor your health to avoid spreading the disease to others if you get sick.
What is coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)?
COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by a new virus called SARS-CoV-2. The most common symptoms of the disease are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Most people with COVID-19 will have mild disease but some people will get sicker and may need to be hospitalized.
How do I know if I was exposed?
You generally need to be in close contact with a sick person to get infected. Close contact includes:
Living in the same household as a sick person with COVID-19,
Caring for a sick person with COVID-19,
Being within 6 feet of a sick person with COVID-19 for about 10 minutes, OR
Being in direct contact with secretions from a sick person with COVID-19 (e.g., being coughed on, kissing, sharing utensils, etc.).
If you have not been in close contact with a sick person with COVID-19, you are at low risk for infection. You can continue to go to work and school, but should monitor your health for 14 days and stay away from others if you get sick.
What should I do if I was in close contact with someone with COVID-19 while they were ill but I am not sick?
You should monitor your health for fever, cough and shortness of breath during the 14 days after the last day you were in close contact with the sick person with COVID-19. You should not go to work or school, and should avoid public places for 14 days.
What should I do if I am a close contact to someone with COVID-19 and get sick?
If you get sick with fever, cough or shortness of breath (even if your symptoms are very mild), you likely have COVID-19. You should isolate yourself at home and away from other people. If you have any of the following conditions that may increase your risk for a serious infection—age 60 years or older, are pregnant, or have medical conditions—contact your physician’s office and tell them that you were exposed to someone with COVID-19. They may want to monitor your health more closely or test you for COVID-19.
If you do not have a high-risk condition but want medical advice, call your healthcare provider and tell them you were exposed to someone with COVID-19. Your healthcare provider can help you decide if you need to be evaluated in person. There are currently no medications to treat COVID-19. If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the dispatch personnel that you may have been exposed to COVID-19. If possible, put on a facemask before emergency medical services arrive or immediately after they arrive. To request this document in another format, call 1-800-525-0127. Deaf or hard of hearing customers, please call 711 (Washington Relay) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
See additional guidance for confirmed or suspected COVID-19 at https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/COVIDcasepositive.pdf
Discontinuing home isolation
For sick contacts of COVID-19 patients, discontinue home isolation under the following conditions:
If you had a fever, 3 days after the fever ends AND you see an improvement in your initial symptoms (e.g. cough, shortness of breath).
If you did not have a fever, 3 days after you see an improvement in your initial symptoms (e.g. cough, shortness of breath).
7 days after symptoms onset whichever is longer.
Published by Washington State Department of Health on March 13, 2020