What to do if you are a close contact to someone with confirmed COVID-19

You may have been exposed to COVID-19, and by monitoring for symptoms carefully twice a day, you can have an early warning that you might be getting sick. Monitoring also allows you and public health officials to know when they need to take precautions so you don’t infect others in your home or in the community. The monitoring period is for 14 days because that is the longest interval between when someone is exposed and when they could develop symptoms.

How was I exposed?

You generally need to be in close contact with a sick person to get infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. Close contact includes:

  • Living in the same household as a sick person with COVID-19, OR
  • Caring for a sick person with COVID-19, OR
  • Being in direct contact with secretions from a sick person with COVID-19 (e.g., being coughed on, kissing), OR
  • Being within 6 feet or airspace of a sick person with COVID-19 for 15 or more minutes
Do I need to get tested?

Yes. Testing is recommended for all close contacts at 5 days after exposure, or at the first sign of symptoms.

Where can I get tested in Anchorage?

Free COVID-19 testing is available within the Municipality of Anchorage. For more information, click here.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

People with COVID-19 have reported a wide range of symptoms – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
How should you monitor your health during this time period?
  • Use the COVID-19 14-Day Symptom Monitoring Log to record your temperature and to indicate whether you have any of the symptoms listed on the page.
  • Take your temperature orally, under your tongue, with a digital thermometer twice a day for 14 days. Try to take your temperature 12 hours apart each day. For example, 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
  • Record the time you monitored your symptoms. Mark if you have any of the symptoms of COVID-19 listed on the form.
  • Record your temperature on the form in the appropriate space (morning and evening).
  • If you are taking aspirin, Tylenol (acetaminophen), or MOTRIN (ibuprofen), take your temperature before your next dose.
  • If you forget to take your temperature, take it as soon as you remember.
  • If your temperature is 100.4°F or higher or if you develop any symptom listed above, you should get tested, and contact your health care provider before going to seek care. For more information on testing locations in Anchorage, click here.
What should I do if I become ill during this monitoring period?

If you develop symptoms:

  • Get tested. For more information on testing locations in Anchorage, click here. A home COVID-19 test that is positive is considered accurate and you do not need to get a lab test unless your provider requests a lab test.
  • If your COVID-19 test is positive, isolate at home for 5 days.
    • You are most likely to spread COVID-19 infection to other people in the 2 days before symptoms start, and for 2-3 days after symptoms start.
  • Seek medical care, but call ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room.
  • Tell your doctor about your symptoms and that you are a close contact to a person diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • If available, put on a mask or face covering before you arrive for medical care.

If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the dispatch personnel that you have been exposed to COVID-19. If possible, put on a mask or face covering before emergency medical services arrive.

If you need to seek medical care for other reasons, such as dialysis, call ahead to your doctor and tell them that you are a close contact to someone with COVID-19. If possible, put on a mask or face covering before entering the facility.

How am I expected to limit my activities during the monitoring period?

You are requested to remain at home or in a similar setting. Avoid congregate or group settings, limit public activities like school and work, and practice social distancing. You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care. Do not go to work, school, or public areas. Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. For more information, click here.

How long do I quarantine at home away from others (from being a close contact to a positive covid person)?

The CDC continues to endorse quarantine for 10 days but the current recommendations are:

  • If you are unvaccinated OR
  • If you are vaccinated but it has been 6+months since your 2-dose series OR 2+months since a 1-dose vaccination: 
    • Quarantine for 5 days (with the day of exposure as day 0, day 1 is the day of + test or symptom start, and day 6 is when you can stop quarantine)
    • You may stop quarantine after 5 days if you do not have symptoms. Please wear a mask for the next 5 days to protect others.
  • If you are FULLY vaccinated with boosters:
    • If you have no symptoms, you are not required to quarantine. Wear a mask for 10 days, monitor for symptoms for 10 days, and you may test at 5 days to see if you have covid.
  • IF you have symptoms after exposure:
    • All people with symptoms should isolate at home for 5 days, and get tested right away.


After stopping quarantine, you should:

  • Watch for symptoms until 10 days after exposure.
  • You can get tested at day 5 just to check for infection. Remember, a negative test does not mean you do not have COVID-19, it could just be too early and the infection is not developed enough to be detected by a COVID-19 test.
  • If you have symptoms, immediately self-isolate and do at-home testing or drive-thru COVID-19 testing to confirm a positive infection.
  • Wear a well-fitting mask, stay at least 6 feet from others, wash your hands, avoid crowds, and take other steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
What should I do if my test results have not come back?

If you have not heard results after 3 days, check with the provider of your COVID-19test.

Do I need to wear a mask or face covering?

You should wear a cloth mask or face covering when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) or pets and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If you are not able to wear a cloth mask or face covering (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then people who live with you should not be in the same room with you, or they should wear a cloth mask or face covering if they enter your room.

I’m a close contact of a close contact, do I need to quarantine?

No. You are not considered a close contact unless you have been around someone who tests positive for COVID-19.