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What happens if I test positive? How long do I need to stay home?

Last Updated: 06/17/2021

If you test positive for COVID-19, a New Jersey contact tracer will reach out to you with life-saving information about how best to protect yourself and your loved ones.

COVID-19 is mainly spread from person to person, so contact tracers will ask about where you have been and the people you spent time with recently. With your help, those people will be told they may have been exposed to COVID-19. We will NEVER share your name or personal information.

You will also likely be instructed to self-quarantine, staying home to avoid spreading the disease. Your family members will stay with you. However, there are things you can do to help ensure your family isn't infected and contact tracers can provide more information about how to do that.

Contact tracers will also connect you to medical care and any help you or your family may need during this difficult time.

When Is It Safe To Leave My House and See Others?

If you tested positive for COVID-19 and have symptoms, it's critical that you self-isolate (stay in your home and away from others) for:

  • 10 days after symptoms first appeared and
  • 24 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
  • Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving (Note: Loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation)

If you tested positive for COVID-19 and have no symptoms:

  • 10 days after you received your positive test results

If you need help getting food or other essentials during quarantine, there are many programs to help you and your family including food assistance, unemployment insurance, sick leave, and job protections. Learn more here.

For individuals who cannot safely quarantine at home, the State is securing beds at hotels, an alternative care site, and other locations.Contact your local health department for help or ask a contact tracer when they call.

For individuals who quarantining at home, but live in large or multigenerational households where others may be at risk, the Department of Health recommends taking the following precautions:

  • For large households or homes with many people, persons who are sick should remain in a separate bedroom and stay away from anyone who is not sick as much as possible.
  • If the sick person cannot be isolated in a separate room, consider having them isolate in an alternate location that has a separate bedroom and bathroom for them to rest and recover.
  • If a family member(s) has underlying health conditions, consider having them quarantine at a nearby alternate site away from the sick individual.
  • If the sick person needs to leave the bedroom to use the bathroom (or kitchen), they should wear a mask.
  • The sick individual should not eat meals with others in the household to limit the spread of the virus within the home.
  • All persons living in the home should practice good hand hygiene (Wash hands often with soap and water or use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol).
  • Cleaning frequently touched surfaces regularly is important especially in the bathroom as well as doorknobs and stair rails

Source:Commissioner Persichilli's remarks 10/2/20;;