What To Do If You or a Close Contact Tests Positive for Covid-19

If you test positive for Covid-19 or were in close contact with someone who has, the Cambridge Public Health Department has some important reminders for you:

If you test positive for COVID-19:

  • You need to stay at home and keep your distance from other people in your house. This is called isolation. You should only leave for urgent medical appointments.
  • You should notify anyone you might have exposed to the virus. These individuals are known as your close contacts. They are people you spent more than 15 minutes with indoors—whether you were wearing a mask or not—in the 2 days before you started to feel sick, up until you started self-isolating.  If you do not have symptoms, it would be 2 days prior to the date you took your Covid-19 test, up until you started self-isolating.
  • If you have symptoms, you should isolate for 10 days from when your symptoms started. For instance, if you started feeling tired and had a scratchy throat on Aug. 1, you would isolate yourself at home until Aug. 10, and then could return to regular activities on Aug. 11.
  • If you do not have symptoms, you should isolate for 10 days from the date of your positive Covid-19 test. For instance, if you took your Covid-19 test on Aug. 1, you would isolate yourself from others through Aug. 10, and return to regular activities on Aug. 11.

For more details, see the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Information and Guidance for Persons in Isolation.

If you are a contact of someone with Covid-19:

  • If you are not fully vaccinated, you should remain at home and keep your distance from other people in your house.  This is called quarantining. You should get tested 5 days after your exposure. If you remain symptom free and your test is negative, you can return to normal activities 8 days from the date of exposure. For instance, if you were exposed to an infected person on Aug. 1 and you tested negative on August 6, you would quarantine yourself through Aug. 8 and could return to regular activities on Aug. 9. If you do not get a COVID test during your quarantine, you should remain in quarantine for 10 days following exposure.
  • If you are fully vaccinated, and someone lets you know that you are a contact of someone with Covid-19, you do not need to quarantine. Instead, you should monitor yourself for symptoms, and wait to get tested until 3-7 days after you were exposed. If you start to feel sick, or test positive, you should isolate yourself from others.

These isolation and quarantine measures are essential for slowing the spread of the virus and are required under state law. Comprehensive guidance on how to isolate and quarantine is available on the Massachusetts Department of Public Health website.

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Page was posted on 8/18/2021 5:24 PM
Page was last modified on 8/18/2021 5:44 PM
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