Isolation and Quarantine: What’s the Difference?
Isolation keeps someone who is infected with the virus away from others.
Quarantine keeps someone who might have been exposed to the virus away from others.
Isolation is used to separate people infected with COVID-19 from those who are not infected. People who are in isolation must stay home until it’s safe for them to be around others.
If you test positive for COVID-19, you will be placed under a Commissioner’s Order of Mandatory Isolation. You should stay home and avoid contact with others at all times, including members of your own household. You must remain in isolation for at least 10 days and have a temperature of under 100 degrees for three days in a row before being released from isolation. The isolation period is typically 10 days from symptom onset (or from the date of the positive test if you are asymptomatic).
Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. Quarantine helps prevent the spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus but have no symptoms. Fully vaccinated people who have been exposed do NOT have to quarantine unless they have symptoms. Please see this flowchart for details.
The Health Department conducts an investigation of each individual with a positive COVID-19 diagnostic test and identifies others who may have been exposed to them. If you are identified as a contact, a NYS Contact Tracer will contact you and you will be placed under a Commissioner’s Order of Mandatory Quarantine. Your quarantine can end after ten days without testing as long as you have remained symptom-free, however, you must continue monitoring yourself for symptoms through day 14. If you do develop any symptoms, you must immediately self-isolate and contact the Health Department at 315.435.3236.