Guidance for Isolation and Quarantine

COVID-19 Isolation and Quarantine Guidance


If you test positive for COVID-19: you should stay home and separate (isolate) yourself from others for at least 5 days from the day symptoms started (the day symptoms began is considered day 0) or if you never had symptoms, 5 days from test date (test date is considered day 0). You are released from isolation on day 6, as long as you have been fever-free (without the use of fever reducing medication) for at least 24 hours and all symptoms are improving. Then, mask around others for an additional 5 days (days 6-10). 

Please notify your employer, school, or childcare center of your positive result immediately.

Please notify your close contacts. A close contact is anyone you have been within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more in a 24-hour period, live with or have had physical contact with, going back 2 days from the day your symptoms began or test date if you never had symptoms. 

You should monitor your symptoms, stay in a separate room avoiding contact with other people and pets, use a separate bathroom (if possible), avoid sharing utensils, towels or cups, and wear a well fitted mask if you need to be around others.

  • EMERGENCY symptoms for which you should seek emergency care immediately – persistent pain or pressure in the chest, trouble breathing, new confusion, inability to stay awake or be woken, or pale, gray, or blue colored skin, lips or nail beds depending on skin tone. 
  • Calling your doctor is important if you have underlying health conditions or other risk factors for developing serious health effects from COVID-19 infection.
  • Treatment for COVID is available at area hospitals and pharmacies and must be started within 5 days of onset of symptoms. Call your doctor for more information.


Should I re-test after testing positive? – You do not need to test negative to come out of isolation if you have tested positive. DHS & CDC do not advise to re-test within 90 days from the start of symptoms or positive test date if you never had symptoms as you could test positive for up to 90 days. The exception is if you have new onset of symptoms consistent with COVID-19 within 90 days. In this case, you should isolate and be evaluated by a medical provider. 

If you test negative for COVID-19: You most likely do not have COVID-19 at this time. It is possible that not enough time has passed for the test to pick it up. You may test positive at a later date. You should continue to practice protective measures to help keep yourself and others from getting sick.

If you are a close contact (exposed): your quarantine starts the day you last had exposure to the positive person (considered day 0). You should quarantine for 5 days (released on day 6) and then mask around others for 5 additional days. If you are unable to separate from the positive person, your quarantine starts on the positive person’s last infectious day, which is the positive persons 5th day from the start of their symptoms. You should start your 5 day quarantine on their 5th day and then mask for an additional 5 days. 

  • If you are a close contact with symptoms, you should isolate and test as soon as possible.
  • If you are a close contact with no symptoms, you should get tested at least 5 days from your last exposure. 
  • Close contacts who are fully vaccinated and boosted or whose primary vaccine series has been completed in the last 5 months do not need to quarantine after an exposure as long as they do not have any symptoms, but should wear a mask around others for 10 days and be tested at least 5 days from their last exposure.


The Iowa County Health Department reinforces that mitigation measures continue to be critically important:

  • Masking in indoor settings
  • Get vaccinated; including your boosters
  • Please stay home if you are sick or if you have been tested and follow isolation/quarantine guidance


If you have any questions, you can call the ICHD at 608-930-9870 or you can go to


Testing – please visit our testing tab   which details local testing options and what to do to get an appointment or register for each site.

While You Wait For Your PCR COVID-19 Test Results From Iowa County Health Department Test Site

  • Results will arrive quickest to the email you registered with. 
  • If you do not have an email, you will get a phone call from one of our staff as they will put their email in and will receive your results.
  • Currently, results can take up to 96 hours to arrive in your email depending on lab capacity. Normally results will arrive between 24-72 hours.
  • If you test negative or positive, you will receive this 1 email with your results. 
  • If it has been more than 72 hours since you were tested, you can call Exact Sciences Customer Service at 1-844-870-8870 to ask the status of your specimen.

If you have any questions, please call the ICHD at 608-930-9870.  

Additional Resources:

CDC Updates and Shortens Recommended Isolation and Quarantine Period for General Population | CDC Online Newsroom | CDC

General Information