Wood County, Wisconsin

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COVID-19 If You Are Sick or Have Been Exposed

Frequently asked questions and guidance regarding COVID-19 exposure and illness is listed below.

Question: I have tested positive for COVID-19. What do I do?

If you have tested positive for COVID-19, it is important that you stay home and isolate to avoid spreading COVID-19 to others.

  • Regardless of vaccination status, stay home for 5 days and isolate away from others in your home.
  • Wear a well-fitted mask if you must be around others in your home.
  • End Isolation after 5 full days after onset of symptoms if you are fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication) and your symptoms are improving.
  • If you do NOT have symptoms, end isolation after at least 5 full days after your positive test.
  • If you were severely ill with COVID-19 or are immunocompromised, you should isolate for at least 10 days.
  • Wear a well-fitted mask for 10 full days (after onset of symptoms, or positive test if you don’t have symptoms) any time you are around others inside your home or in public. Do not go to places where you are unable to wear a mask.
  • Do not travel using public transportation until a full 10 days after your symptoms started or the date your positive test was taken if you had no symptoms.
  • Avoid being around people who are at high risk.

For more information, visit Wisconsin DHS: COVID-19 Diagnosed

Question: When should I seek emergency care if I have COVID-19?

If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone.

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

Question: I am positive for COVID-19 and my employer is requiring a letter in order for me to isolate. How do I get one?

Our department recommends against requiring employees to have a release letter to return to work, as this is an unnecessary burden during an emergency response for a communicable disease. Please call the healthcare provider who administered your test for confirmation of your test results. If you need further help with this type of issue, you can reach out to the general health department phone number and a member of our Disease Investigation team will call you back.

Question: Do I need a test to get out of isolation?

No, you don't need a negative test to stop isolating in most circumstances. You don't need to be tested again if you've recently had a positive test. Your test may be positive for many weeks after you recover even when you are no longer infectious.

Question: I have symptoms of COVID-19 but have not yet been tested. What should I do?

There are many possible symptoms of COVID-19 including fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath, abnormal tiredness/fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, and digestive symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. These same symptoms can also be symptoms of other illnesses. We encourage everyone with symptoms to seek out testing. If you have symptoms:

  • Isolate immediately and get tested.
  • Stay home until you know the results. Wear a well-fitted mask around other household members.
  • If the test result is positive, follow isolation guidelines.

Check our local community testing resource list to schedule a test.

COVID-19: Get Tested

Question: I had close contact with someone with COVID-19 but am not sick.

COVID-19 is a very contagious disease. For some people it is mild, but for others it can be very serious. The incubation period for COVID-19 is up to 14 days. Someone can spread disease starting two days before they develop symptoms. This is why quarantining at home away from others is the best option to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

A "close contact" is someone who:

  • Was closer than 6 feet, for 15 minutes or more total, even with masks
    OR, regardless of how close you were or for how long, if you
  • Had direct exposure to coughs, sneezes, or other body fluids of someone with COVID-19
  • Had direct physical contact with the person (example: a hug, kiss, handshake)
  • Stayed overnight at a home where a person with COVID-19 was staying while infectious and was not isolating away from shared spaces

If you were exposed to COVID-19 and are NOT up-to-date or you have not received all recommended COVID-19 vaccinations:

  • Stay home and quarantine for at least 5 full days after last exposure to someone with COVID-19.
  • Wear a well-fitted mask if you must be around others in your home.
  • Do not travel using public transportation for 10 days after exposure.
  • Even if you don’t develop symptoms, get tested at least 5 days after you last had close contact with someone with COVID-19.
  • You may end quarantine after 5 days, if you have not developed symptoms, but must continue to wear a mask when around others in public.
  • Watch for symptoms until 10 days after you last had close contact with someone with COVID-19.
  • Wear a well-fitted mask for 10 full days after exposure any time you are around others inside your home or in public. Do not go to places where you are unable to wear a mask.
  • Avoid being around people who are at high risk.
  • If you develop symptoms, Isolate immediately and get tested. Stay home until you know the results. Wear a well-fitted mask around others.

If you were exposed to COVID-19 and are up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccinations:

  • You do not need to stay home unless you develop symptoms.
  • Even if you don’t develop symptoms, get tested at least 5 days after you last had close contact with someone with COVID-19.
  • Watch for symptoms until 10 days after you last had close contact with someone with COVID-19.
  • Wear a well-fitted mask for 10 full days any time you are around others inside your home or in public, or until you get tested and receive negative results. Do not go to places where you are unable to wear a mask.
  • Avoid being around people who are at high risk.
  • If you develop symptoms, Isolate immediately and get tested. Stay home until you know the results. Wear a well-fitted mask around others.

If you were exposed to COVID-19 and had confirmed COVID-19 within the past 90 days (you tested positive using a viral test):

  • You do not need to stay home unless you develop symptoms.
  • Watch for symptoms until 10 days after you last had close contact with someone with COVID-19.
  • Wear a well-fitted mask for 10 full days any time you are around others inside your home or in public. Do not go to places where you are unable to wear a mask.
  • Avoid being around people who are at high risk.
  • If you develop symptoms, Isolate immediately and consult your medical provider for further instructions. Stay home until you receive further instructions. Wear a well-fitted mask around others.

Question: I had close contact with someone who has COVID-19 and now have symptoms. What do I do?

If you are a close contact of someone with COVID-19 and develop symptoms:

  • Isolate immediately and get tested.
  • Stay home until you know the results. Wear a well-fitted mask around other household members.
  • If the test result is positive, follow isolation guidelines.
  • If the test result is negative, you must continue to follow quarantine guidelines. Do not end quarantine until your symptoms are improving, regardless if it is COVID-19.
  • Check our local community testing resource list to schedule a test.

Question: I live with someone who has COVID-19. What does our household need to do?

If you are not up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccines and have ongoing exposure to COVID-19, you should:
  • Begin quarantine immediately and continue to quarantine throughout the isolation period of the person with COVID-19.
  • Continue to quarantine for an additional 5 days starting the day after the end of isolation for the person with COVID-19.
  • Get tested at least 5 days after the end of isolation of the infected person that lives with them.
  • Do not travel using public transportation for 10 days after you last had close contact with someone with COVID-19.
  • Wear a well-fitted mask for 10 full days any time you are around others inside your home or in public. Do not go to places where you are unable to wear a mask.
  • Avoid being around people who are at high risk.
  • If you develop symptoms, isolate immediately and get tested. Stay home until you know the results. Wear a well-fitted mask around others.
If you are not up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccines and the person with COVID-19 can completely self-isolate (food delivered to their room, separate bathroom or disinfected after use and take all personal items with for each use, can maintain 6 feet of space) and you can avoid additional contact with that person:
  • Stay home and quarantine for at least 5 full days after last exposure to household member with COVID-19.
  • Wear a well-fitted mask if you must be around others in your home.
  • Do not travel using pubic transportation.
  • Even if you don’t develop symptoms, get tested at least 5 days after you last had close contact with someone with COVID-19.
  • You may end quarantine after 5 days, if you have not developed symptoms, but must wear a mask in public or around others for 5 additional days.
  • Watch for symptoms until 10 days after you last had close contact with someone with COVID-19.
  • Wear a well-fitted mask for 10 full days any time you are around others inside your home or in public. Do not go to places where you are unable to wear a mask.
  • Avoid being around people who are at high risk.
  • If you develop symptoms, isolate immediately and get tested. Stay home until you know the results. Wear a well-fitted mask around others.
If you are up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and have ongoing exposure to COVID-19:
  • You do not have to quarantine.
  • You must wear a well-fitting mask when you are around the person with COVID-19, and do this throughout their isolation period.
  • Get tested at least 5 days after your first exposure.
  • Get tested again at least 5 days after the end of isolation for the person with COVID-19.
  • Wear a well-fitting around others for 10 days after the infected person’s isolation period ends.

Question: How can you protect yourself and others?

Question: Someone in my home is sick from COVID-19. Besides being in quarantine, how do I support my household member?

If you continue to be in contact with the infected person (for example, they live in your home), you will quarantine while they are in isolation and then your quarantine period will extend for an additional 5-10 days after the infected person is released from isolation.

  • The sick person should be in their own room and should have their own bathroom, if possible. They should have the door closed, and food and other items they may need should be left outside their door for them to pick up.
  • All household members should try to stay away from the sick person as much as possible.
  • Help the person who is sick follow their doctor’s instructions for care and medicine. See if over-the-counter medicines for fever help the person feel better.
  • Make sure the person who is sick drinks a lot of fluids and rests.
  • Stay connected to the person in isolation who is sick through texts, phone calls or videoconference. Check in with them frequently, staying connected can help them stay well mentally while they heal physically.
  • The CDC has additional guidance for how to clean and disinfect your home if someone is sick, including how to clean surfaces, linens, dishes, and trash.
  • Advice for caregivers in non-healthcare settings - Caring for Someone Sick at home

Question: I’m a health care worker and in isolation/quarantine for COVID-19. Is guidance different for me?

  • If you work for a Health System, you may be subject to different guidelines. Contact your employee health division at your workplace. Health care workers may follow Guidance for Managing Healthcare Personnel for critical workers if absolutely necessary.

Question: My business has an employee who tested positive or is a close contact of someone with COVID-19. What do I do?