Home Isolation Instructions for People with COVID-19 Infection

If you live in San Luis Obispo County and you tested positive for COVID-19, you are required to follow this Health Officer order to isolate yourself immediately, follow the instructions below, and remain in isolation until your isolation order ends.

Note: Isolation is different from quarantine. Quarantine is for individuals who have been exposed to COVID-19. Isolation is for individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19

 STEP 1: Isolate (Stay Home)

COVID-19 is very contagious. If you test positive for COVID-19, you must self-isolate to prevent spreading the disease to your family, friends, and community. This means you must stay home and separate yourself from others until your isolation order ends.  

House1. Do not leave home to go to work, school, or public areas.

While in quarantine, you must not leave your home, even if you feel well. Do not let delivery persons or visitors inside your home.


Doctor2. You may leave home to get essential medical care.

  • Call ahead before visiting your doctor.
  • Drive yourself alone, if possible. If you cannot drive yourself:
  • Keep as much distance as possible between you and the drive and others (e.g., sit in the back seat), and
  • Leave the windows down, and
  • Wear a mask or cloth face covering.


Fever3. Stay away from household members.

If you live with other persons:

  • Try to limit your contact with them and wear a face covering if you do. Stay at least 6 feet away from others.
  • Try to stay in a specific “sick room” and use a separate bathroom if available. 
  • Avoid sharing personal household items like dishes, towels, and bedding.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes.
  • Clean your hands often.
  • Disinfect “high touch” surfaces you touch frequently.


Food delivery4. Do not answer the door for deliveries, if possible.

If someone delivers something at your home, ask them to leave the delivery at your door, if possible. Pick them up after the person has left. If you need to answer the door:

  • Keep as much distance between you and the other person as possible, and
  • Wear a mask or cloth face covering. 


Help5. Help is available.


Fever6. Case Investigation Form

  • Please tell us about your illness here.

Letter7. Request Documentation of Your Isolation Order

  • Does your employer, school, or other agency require documentation or a letter showing that you have received a Health Officer Order to Isolate? You may request documentation of your isolation order by filling out this form


 STEP 2: Tell your close contacts to quarantine for up to 14 days

If you test positive for COVID-19, notify your close contacts that they could be infected and need to quarantine themselves at home, even if they feel well and do not have symptoms. Give them the home quarantine instructions

Definition of a Close Contact

A “close contact” is any of the following people who were exposed to you while you were infectious*:

  • Anyone who was within 6 feet of you for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period, even if you both wore masks.
  • Anyone who had unprotected contact with your body fluids and/or secretions. For example, you coughed or sneezed on them, you shared utensils or dishes, or they cared for you without wearing a cloth face covering.

*A person with COVID-19 is contagious 2 days before their first symptoms appear until they are no longer required to be self-isolated. A person with a positive COVID-19 test but no symptoms is contagious from 2 days before their test was taken until 10 days after their test.


If you do not feel comfortable telling your close contact that you have tested positive for COVID-19, fill out this form with their information for local contact tracers.
 STEP 3: Monitor your health
  •  If you have any of these warning signs*, seek emergency medical care immediately:
    • Trouble breathing
    • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
    • New confusion
    • Inability to wake or stay awake
    • Bluish lips or face

* This list is not all possible symptoms. Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

Call 911 or call ahead to your local emergency facility: Notify the operator that you are seeking care for someone who has or may have COVID-19.

 STEP 4: Complete the duration of your isolation period 

You can be with others after

  • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared and
  • At least 24 hours with no fever without fever-reducing medication and
  • Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving. **Loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation​.

If you had severe illness from COVID-19 (you were admitted to a hospital and needed oxygen), your healthcare provider may recommend that you stay in isolation for longer than 10 days after your symptoms first appeared (possibly up to 20 days), and you may need to finish your period of isolation at home.

I tested positive for COVID-19 but had no symptoms

 If you continue to have no symptoms:

  • You can be with others after 10 days have passed since the date you had your positive test. 

I had COVID-19 or I tested positive for COVID-19 and I have a weakened immune system

If you have a weakened immune system (immunocompromised) due to a health condition or medication, you might need to stay home and isolate longer than 10 days. Please contact Public Health at (805) 781-5500 and ask for the Nurses’ Line. 

Request Release from Isolation Documentation

Does your employer or school require documentation or a letter showing that you have completed your isolation period? You may request documentation of your release from isolation by filling out this form.  

Frequently Asked Questions 

 What if I still have questions? 
For more information about isolation, please visit the CDC Isolation page. More information is also available at the California Department of Public Health website. Call your medical provider for any questions related to your health.
Why did I receive a text message instead of a phone call?  

The Public Health Department is currently experiencing a surge in new COVID-19 cases that has outpaced our contact tracing resources. In order to respond quickly and effectively to reduce further spread of the virus, we are notifying individuals by text message rather than a phone call.

We are counting on our residents to follow the steps above to protect themselves, their family, friends, co-workers, and community. 

Will I be getting an isolation order or letter?  
If you received a text notification to isolate, you will not receive any further documentation from the Public Health Department. However, if you need documentation of your isolation order, you may submit a request online.
Do I need to isolate if my test result is "Presumptive Positive"? 

Yes, and you need to get retested as soon as possible. Remain in isolation while waiting for your retest results. You may end your isolation if your retest results are negative. 


What if I don't want to notify my close contacts? 

You are not required to tell anyone that you are infected with COVID-19, but not notifying your contacts right away places many more people at risk of becoming infected. If you refuse to notify your contacts, then you must provide the Public Health Department with their names and phone numbers so our contact tracers may notify them that they have been in close contact with someone who recently tested positive for COVID-19. Will not tell them your name or any details of how they may have been exposed. Submit information about your close contacts for contact tracers to notify them of their exposure to COVID-19