What does isolation mean?
Keep your child at home in one space, away from other family members where possible. When providing care to your child, you should be wearing a mask and washing hands after contact.
How long does my child have to be isolated?
Current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines updated on Jan 4, 2022 recommend a minimum of 5 days from the start of symptoms (day 0) if your child is without fever (and no Tylenol®/Motrin® for 24 hours) and showing improvement of symptoms. They should continue to wear a mask for an additional 5 days when around others at home and in public. If they continue to have symptoms such as fever or cough at day 5, or they cannot wear a mask, they should isolate for 5 additional days (day 6 through day 10). If they had a severe course — for example they were in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in the hospital or are immunocompromised (they have an autoimmune disease or are receiving certain types of cancer care) — recommended isolation may be longer (20 days). Some symptoms can linger (e.g., loss of smell, fatigue, etc.) beyond this period but that does not mean they are contagious.
What if they never had symtoms but tested positive? How long do they have to be isolated?
If they never had symptoms then day 0 is the day they tested positive and day 1 is the first full day following the day they were tested. They should be isolated for at least 5 days from the last positive test (i.e., days 0 through 5) if it can be assured that a well-fitting mask be worn when around others at home and in public. If your child cannot wear a mask they should continue to isolate for 10 days. If they develop symptoms soon (i.e., within a week) after their positive test result, the clock restarts at day 0 on the day of symptom onset.
Should they be tested again to see if they are negative and can come out of isolation earlier than 10 days or if they should stay isoluated for longer?
If you have access to a test and want to test your child, the best approach is to use an antigen test no earlier than day 5 of isolation. If your child’s test result is positive, they should continue to isolate until day 10. If their test result is negative, they can end isolation as long as a well-fitting mask can be worn at home and in public for 5 additional days (day 6 through day 10).
How do I care for them while they are isolated?
CDC has guidelines on how to take care of loved ones when they are sick including advice on having a separate trash can, using gloves and masks when handling waste or getting within 6 feet of the patient, disinfecting high surface touch points, etc. Learn More About These Guidelines
How long do family members have to be quarentined?
For family members who have received all vaccine and booster doses recommended by the CDC, they do not need to quarantine. They should wear a well-fitting mask around others for 10 days from the day the child was isolated from them. If the child was unable to be isolated from a family member, then that family member should continue to wear a mask for 10 days from the day the child was able to come out of isolation (e.g., 10+10 days = 20 days).
For family members who have not received all recommended vaccine doses, including a booster dose for people 12 years of age or older, a 5-day quarantine period is recommended if it can be assured that a well-fitting mask be worn when around others at home and in public for 5 additional days (day 6 through day 10) following the last exposure to the child. If the child was unable to be isolated from a family member, then that family member should quarantine for 5 days from the day the child was able to come out of isolation (e.g., 10+5 days = 15 days).