What should I do if I’ve tested positive for COVID-19?

Stay home. Do not go to work, class, or any other campus or public areas. Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home as much as possible. Residence hall students may request an isolation space if they are unable to go home or do not want to isolate in their assigned room.

Isolate at home and do not leave isolation until:

  • It has been at least 5 full days since the first day you had symptoms (day 0 is the day your symptoms start), or since you tested positive if you do not have symptoms (day 0 is the day of your test), AND
  • You have been at least 24 hours without a fever (without fever-reducing medicine), AND
  • Your other symptoms are resolving.

Five full days is a minimum and some people may need to isolate longer. If you do not meet the criteria after 5 full days, continue to isolate until you are fever-free for 24-hours without fever reducing medication and your other symptoms have improved. Isolate longer if you are instructed to do so by a contact tracer or medical professional.

If you meet the criteria to leave isolation after 5 full days, and a contact tracer or medical professional did not instruct you to isolate for longer, you must continue to wear a well-fitted mask around others for 5 additional days.

  • If you are unable to wear a mask around others, isolate for a full 10 days.
  • Avoid people who are immunocompromised or at high risk of severe disease until after 10 days.
  • Avoid travel until a full 10 days after your first day of symptoms or your positive test.
  • Do not go places where you are unable to wear a mask, such as restaurants and gyms, until 10 days has passed since your symptoms started or you tested positive.

You may also choose to test before leaving isolation if you meet the criteria for ending after 5 full days. If you’re able, use an antigen test toward the end of your 5-day isolation. If you test positive, continue to isolate until day 10.

You should also:

  • Notify your close contacts and work with contact tracers.
  • Take leave or seek flexibility for work; contact your instructors for flexibility with classes and assignments.
  • Monitor your symptoms and call before visiting your doctor. If you have an appointment, be sure you tell them you have or may have COVID-19.
  • Take care of yourself. Get rest and stay hydrated. Take over-the-counter medicines, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen or another non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) to help you feel better.
  • Avoid using public transportation, taxis, or ride-share.
  • Call 911 if you experience a medical emergency, such as difficulty breathing.
  • People in your household, and others you had close contact with need to get tested if possible, and self-monitor for symptoms. Consult Public Health Madison and Dane County’s exposure guidance.
  • Find additional information through Public Health Madison and Dane County.

If you live with others, consult this guidance from Public Health Madison and Dane County and the CDC to reduce the chances of spreading the virus in your household.

For more information, visit the CDC’s webpage about quarantining and isolation.