What to do if you have confirmed or suspected COVID-19?

Protect Your Health

If you are sick

COVID-19 virus

If you tested positive for COVID-19

Exposed to COVID-19 virus

If you have symptoms of COVID-19

Regardless of vaccination status, you should stay home and away from others (isolate) when you have symptoms of COVID-19 but do not yet have test results.

What to do during isolation



Next Steps

If you tested positive for COVID-19

VDH sends a text message to phone numbers associated with a positive reported COVID-19 test to help people act quickly and stay informed.

The guidance below does NOT apply to healthcare facilities (patients or healthcare personnel) or high-risk congregate settings.

Step 1

Isolate and monitor your symptoms

Isolate means to stay home and away from others when you are infected.

Symptoms typically appear 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus. People with COVID-19 might not have any symptoms. If they do have symptoms, symptoms can range from mild to severe.

If you have a weakened immune system or are at higher risk of getting very sick, contact your healthcare provider right away to see if you are eligible for treatment. Early treatment, given within 5-7 days from when symptoms start, can prevent you from getting sicker.

Man looking at phone with a positive COVID-19 test result
Girl sitting feeling sick

If You Have Symptoms

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, stay home and isolate for at least 5 days from the date your symptoms began.

Day 0 is the day of when symptoms started, regardless of when you tested positive.

House illustration

If you are not symptomatic

If you are not symptomatic and have tested positive for COVID-19, stay home and isolate for at least 5 days from the day you had your test done.

Day 0 is the day you were tested (not the day you received your positive test result).  If you develop symptoms within 10 days of when you were tested, the clock restarts at day 0 on the day of symptom onset

Step 2

Notify Your Contacts

Fly trap catching the virus

Tell your contacts you have COVID-19.

Tell anyone you had close contact with that you are sick so that they know to stay home, get tested, and stay alert for symptoms.

Let them know they can visit VDH’s Exposure to COVID-19 web page for additional information.


Covidwise logo

COVIDWISE Verification Portal

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) COVIDWISE Verification Portal allows individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 to obtain a verification code for Virginia’s Exposure Notification tools – COVIDWISE & COVIDWISE Express.

Next Steps

Regardless of vaccination status, if you tested positive or have symptoms,  you should isolate from others.

Exposed to COVID-19 virus

During isolation

Wear a high-quality mask if you must be around others at home and in public.

  • Do not go places where you are unable to wear a mask.
  • Do not travel.
  • Stay home and separate from others as much as possible.
  • Do not visit people who are at high-risk of getting sick.
  • Use a separate bathroom, if possible.
  • Clean and disinfect all frequently touched or high-touch surfaces daily.
  • Take steps to improve ventilation at home, if possible.
  • Don’t share personal household items, like cups, towels, and utensils.
  • Monitor your symptoms. If you have an emergency warning sign (like trouble breathing), seek emergency medical care immediately.

When to end isolation

If you test negative for COVID-19

If you test positive for COVID-19 and have no symptoms – you may end after day 5. 

If you test positive for COVID-19 and have symptoms – you may end after day 5 if:

  • You are fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication)
  • Your symptoms are improving

If you still have fever or your other symptoms have not improved, continue to isolate until they improve.

If you had moderate illness  (if you experienced shortness of breath or had difficulty breathing), or severe illness   (you were hospitalized) due to COVID-19, or you have a weakened immune system, you need to isolate through day 10. If you had severe illness  or have a weakened immune system, consult your doctor before ending isolation.


When you can stop wearing your mask

Even if you’ve ended isolation, wear your mask through Day 10. Visit CDC’s website to see how you might be able to stop wearing your mask sooner.

Select the option below that describes your situation, enter the relevant date, and this calculator will give you guidance on when your isolation at home may end.

This guidance is for members of the general public and may not apply to healthcare facilities, high-risk congregate settings, or other setting-specific groups

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