Isolation and Exposure Guidance

Isolation and exposure precautions are important steps to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Information updated as of August 15, 2022.

If you test positive for COVID-19 (isolate)

If you test positive for COVID-19 on either a rapid antigen or PCR test, you are required to self-isolate – whether you are vaccinated or not. Do not leave your home, except to get medical care. Do not visit public areas. Self-isolation means separating yourself from others to keep your germs from spreading. Regardless of vaccination status, all individuals who test positive should avoid people who are at high risk of severe disease for 10 days.

Anyone who lives, works or attends higher education in MA:
Are you able to wear a mask?Isolation Guidance
Yes• Stay home and isolate for at least the first 5 days; you are probably most infectious during these 5 days
• If you never had symptoms or symptoms are improving,* you may end your isolation on day 6
• Wear a mask around others for 10 days (including in the household). You may remove your mask prior to day 11, if you have had two negative tests taken 48 hours apart.
No• Stay home and isolate for 10 days • If you never had symptoms or symptoms are improving,* you may end your isolation on day 11.
*Note: If you have or develop symptoms, continue to stay home, until you have not had a fever for 24-hours without the use of fever reducing medicine and your other symptoms are improving. If you were severely ill (were hospitalized) or have a weakened immune system, you should consult your healthcare provider before leaving isolation.
Days to Isolate

Day 0, first day of symptoms OR day the positive test was taken, whichever is earlier
Days 1-4, continue to isolate
Day 5, last day of isolation if asymptomatic or symptoms are improving
Day 6, leave isolation (if you are able to wear a mask at all times when around other people, including in your household, through day 10). You may remove your mask prior to day 10, if you have had two negative tests taken 48 hours apart
After you have ended isolation, if your COVID-19 symptoms recur or worsen, restart your isolation at day 0.

If you were exposed to someone with COVID-19 (exposure precautions):

If you have been exposed to someone with COVID, you do not need to quarantine as long as you remain asymptomatic, regardless of your vaccination status. You must wear a mask any time you are around others inside your home or indoors in public for the 10 days following your exposure, unless you are unable to mask*.

If you were exposed and develop symptoms at any time, isolate and take a test and stay home until you know the result. If the result is positive, follow isolation protocols. If your test is negative or if you have remained asymptomatic, take a test on day 6.

  • If you have not had COVID-19 in the last 90 days, you can test with either a rapid antigen or PCR test.
  • People who had COVID-19 in the last 90 days should test with a rapid antigen test, not a PCR test.
  • People who had COVID-19 in the last 30 days are not recommended to test on day 6 but should use a rapid antigen test if they develop any symptoms.
If you test positive, follow isolation guidance.

* You are unable to consistently wear a mask due to young age or medical or behavioral condition.

For more information, to view FAQs, or learn more about specific standards for schools, childcare, and certain healthcare settings click here.

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