Isolation and Quarantine

Updated 1/4/2021

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Isolation Order states that all individuals who have been diagnosed with or who are likely to have COVID-19 must isolate themselves in their home for a period of 10 days, and at least 24 hours after fever subsides and symptoms improve.

If you had symptoms, you must stay home until:

  • At least 10 days have passed since your symptoms first started and
  • You have had no fever for at least 24 hours (without the use of medicine that reduces fevers) and
  • Your symptoms have improved (for example, cough or shortness of breath)

If you tested positive for COVID-19 but never had any symptoms:

  • You must stay home for 10 days after the test was taken, but
  • If you develop symptoms, you need to follow the instructions above

View the home isolation instructions for people with COVID-19.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Quarantine Order states that all close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases are required to self-quarantine for 10 days after their last contact with the infectious person. If they remain asymptomatic, after Day 10 they are allowed to discontinue quarantine on the condition they follow these additional precautions:

From Day 11-14, they must both:

  • Strictly adhere to all routine COVID-19 prevention interventions including wearing a face covering whenever around other people, keeping a distance of at least 6 feet from others, and washing hands often, AND
  • Continue to monitor daily for COVID-19 symptoms. If symptoms develop, they must isolate immediately and contact their healthcare provider, clinician advice line, or telemedicine provider for a medical assessment and arrange a test for COVID-19.

View the home quarantine guidance for close contacts to COVID-19.

Who is considered a close contact? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a close contact is someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period* starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to test specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.

* Individual exposures added together over a 24-hour period (e.g., three 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes). Data are limited, making it difficult to precisely define “close contact;” however, 15 cumulative minutes of exposure at a distance of 6 feet or less can be used as an operational definition for contact investigation. Factors to consider when defining close contact include proximity (closer distance likely increases exposure risk), the duration of exposure (longer exposure time likely increases exposure risk), whether the infected individual has symptoms (the period around onset of symptoms is associated with the highest levels of viral shedding), if the infected person was likely to generate respiratory aerosols (e.g., was coughing, singing, shouting), and other environmental factors (crowding, adequacy of ventilation, whether exposure was indoors or outdoors). 

A patient with presumed or confirmed COVID-19 is considered to be infectious from 48 hours before their symptoms started until their isolation period ends. Asymptomatic patients with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infection are considered to be infectious from 48 hours before their test was taken until 10 days after their test was taken.

Learn more from the CDC: When You Can be Around Others After You Had or Likely Had COVID-19


Mandatory Directive on Travel (Appendix W): Persons arriving in Los Angeles County from anywhere outside of the Southern California Region on or from non-essential travel, including returning Los Angeles County residents, must self-quarantine for 10 days after arrival. Quarantine may end after Day 10 if travelers never had any symptoms and they continue to monitor themselves for COVID-19 symptoms for 14 days after arrival. If they develop symptoms or test positive for COVID-19 during the quarantine period, they must isolate as required. The Southern California Region is defined as the counties of Imperial, Inyo, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura. 

The virus can take up to 14 days to incubate, and for many people the virus causes no illness or symptoms. If you go back to work, go shopping or go to any gatherings at any point over the next 10 days, you could easily pass on the virus to others. All it takes is one unfortunate encounter with an individual with COVID-19 for you to become infected, and sadly, for you to go on and infect others.