If you have been told by a public health professional or other authority that you are a close contact of a laboratory confirmed case of COVID-19, you must quarantine yourself for 7, 10, or 14 days after your last contact with the case depending on whether you have been tested for COVID-19 and preference of local health officer. (See Shortened Quarantine Guidance).
You are a "close contact" if any of the following situations happened while you spent time with a person with COVID-19, even if they didn’t have symptoms:
- Were within 6 feet of the person for 10 consecutive minutes or more
- Had contact with the person’s respiratory secretions (for example, coughed or sneezed on; kissed; contact with a dirty tissue; shared a drinking glass, food, towels, or other personal items).
- Live with the person or stayed overnight for at least one night in a house with the person.
The chance of spreading the virus is greater the longer an infected person or persons are close to someone. It also matters if the infected person is coughing, sneezing, singing, shouting, or doing anything else that produces more respiratory droplets that contain virus or if there are exposures to more than one infected person. Under these higher risk situations, you may want to consider a close contact someone who has been within 6 feet of an infectious person or persons for 10 cumulative minutes or more in a 24-hour period.
The final decision on what constitutes close contact is made at the discretion of public health.
People who work in healthcare, public health, law enforcement and the meat packing industry may be allowed a modified quarantine, which allows them to continue working during quarantine period while wearing appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), as long as they remain symptom free. The decision to allow a modified quarantine is made by the local health officer.
Employees who were potentially exposed to COVID-19 due to exposure to a case should monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19, including checking for a fever of 100.4 (F) or higher at least twice per day and monitoring for lower respiratory symptoms including cough or shortness of breath. Use this symptoms log. If symptoms develop during the quarantine period, employees should stop work immediately and notify their employer and public health. Isolation of Lab-confirmed Cases of COVID-19
Lab-confirmed cases, including healthcare, public health, and law enforcement workers must be isolated in the same manner as any other lab-confirmed case. Most cases are considered no longer infectious and can be released from isolation using this criteria:
- 10 days from the onset of symptoms OR
- 72 hours after fever is gone without the use of fever reducing medication AND there has been a significant improvement in symptoms
- WHICHEVER IS LONGER.
In some dire circumstances where there is a shortage of healthcare staff, asymptomatic healthcare staff who are positive may be allowed to continue working if they continue to be asymptomatic, are wearing appropriate PPE, are only working with COVID-19 positive patients and cannot expose other staff, and can ensure that no common spaces will be shared with non COVID-19 staff and patients. This exception must be allowed by the county’s local health officer. If you have questions, contact your local county health department, or KDHE at 877-427-7317.
Shortened Quarantine Guidance
KDHE continues to recommend a 14-day quarantine following exposure to COVID-19, as the incubation period for this disease is 14 days. CDC has released modified guidance allowing for shorter quarantine periods to increase better compliance with quarantine and increase people getting tested. Local Health Departments may choose to opt into this guidance. For information in your county, please contact your local health department.
How the Shortened Time Period Works
(Please check in with your local health department for specific information in your community)
7 Day Quarantine (Includes Testing and No Symptoms)
- After exposure, you monitor yourself for symptoms daily or participate in monitoring by Public Health for 7 full days.
- If you have no symptoms during this time frame, on or after Day 5, you may get a PCR test (antigen and antibody tests are NOT allowed for this purpose).
- If the test is negative, and you remain symptom-free, you can be removed from quarantine on or after Day 8.
- If Testing Results are pending, you must wait until you receive results.
10 Day Quarantine (No Testing and No Symptoms)
- After exposure, you monitor yourself for symptoms daily or participate in Public Health monitoring for 10 full days.
- If you have no symptoms during the 10 days, you can be released from the quarantine without a test on Day 11.
KDHE recommends all exposed people should self-monitor for fourteen (14) days from exposure and contact healthcare provider if symptoms develop. Disease can still develop through day 14.
Who is Not Eligible for Shortened Quarantine:
- Residents of long-term care and assisted living facilities
- Offender populations in Department of Corrections prisons