Isolation / Quarantine / Movement Restrictions / Public Health Monitoring

Isolation is the separation of sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick.

Quarantine is the separation of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. This often involves some level of restriction on the movement of those people.

People might be asked to restrict their movements if public health has reason to believe they might have been exposed to COVID-19 or if they are considered to be at increased risk for serious illness from COVID-19. This is to help prevent the spread of disease and protect people’s health.

Public health is monitoring the health of travelers who have been in areas where community transmission of COVID-19 is known to be widespread. These travelers might have been exposed to COVID-19, so we want them to self-quarantine and monitor their health closely and quickly connect them with care if they become sick.

It depends on where you traveled and other individual circumstances.

See International Travel FAQs and Domestic Travel FAQs for additional information.

If you have traveled to an area where COVID-19 is spreading in the community or if you have been in close contact with a person with COVID-19, you should take your temperature twice daily and remain alert for signs of illness, including fever, cough,  difficulty breathing, chills, muscle pains, headache, sore throat, and a new loss or taste or smell. It is important to not eat, drink, or exercise for at least 30 minutes before taking your temperature.

If you develop mild illness, it is important to stay home and rest.  It is very important that people with even mild signs of illness (fever, cough, chills, shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat) stay home to prevent spreading illness to others! Even those with mild illness could pass the infection to others.

Call 911 if you have a medical emergency: If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the dispatch personnel that you have, or are being evaluated for COVID-19. If possible, put on a facemask before emergency medical services arrive. Emergency warning signs include (but are not limited to): trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse a person, or bluish lips or face.

If you become sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, and are in need of medical care, call your healthcare provider to let them know you need care. Please call ahead to the healthcare provider. The healthcare provider can evaluate your illness and determine if you need to be tested for the virus that causes COVID-19.

See also Illness and COVID-19 and If You’re Sick

If a person does not comply with voluntary quarantine, the VDH may issue a quarantine order that legally requires the person to comply with quarantine restrictions. Law enforcement can become involved, if needed, to ensure compliance.

If you are sick and have confirmed or suspected COVID-19 and have been directed to isolate at home, you can stop home isolation under the following conditions:

  • If you will not have a test to determine if you are still contagious, you can leave home after these three things have happened:
    • You have had no fever for at least 72 hours (that is three full days of no fever without the use of medicine that reduces fevers)
      AND
    • other symptoms have improved (for example, your cough or shortness of breath have improved)
      AND
    • at least 10 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared
  • If you will be tested to determine if you are still contagious, you can leave home after these three things have happened:
    • You no longer have a fever (without the use medicine that reduces fevers)
      AND
    • other symptoms have improved (for example, your cough or shortness of breath have improved)
      AND
    • You received two negative tests in a row, 24 hours apart.

For more information, see:

CDC Interim Guidance on Home Isolation

No, neighbors are not notified.  VDH keeps protected health information private in order to protect each person’s confidentiality.

A national quarantine or lockdown is not being planned at this time. On March 30, 2020, Governor Northam issued Executive Order (EO) 55, which is a statewide, temporary Stay at Home order.  Since then, executive orders have been issued to gradually ease restrictions.  The full text of all executive orders  can be found here.

 

Page last reviewed: May 16, 2020