When do I need to isolate or quarantine for COVID-19?

Isolation and quarantine separate people who have or may have COVID-19 or another contagious disease from people who are not sick.

 Learn more about the difference between quarantine and isolation.

Rhode Island quarantine requirements

Quarantine if you've recently arrived in Rhode Island from a location outside the 50 states or the District of Columbia (DC) or a hot spot within the 50 states or DC, or if you've been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Close contact means you’ve been within 6 feet of someone with COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more in a 24-hour period. 

  • If you arrived from a location outside the 50 states or DC or have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, quarantine for 10 days from your last known exposure or arrival in the US. If you have a negative result from a test taken at least 5 days after you arrived, you may shorten your quarantine to 7 days.
  • If you arrived from a hot spot within the 50 states or DC, quarantine for 10 days from your arrival in Rhode Island. You can end quarantine with a negative result from a test taken after you arrived or no more than 72 hours before you arrived. You do not have to quarantine if you are traveling for work. For other quarantine exceptions, visit covid.ri.gov/travel.
  • If you are a resident of a long-term care facility, quarantine for 14 days from your last known exposure. 

Even after ending your quarantine, watch for symptoms for a full 14 days. 

Once you’ve gotten any COVID-19 vaccine, you do not need to quarantine if: 

  • You’ve gotten a final dose at least 14 days before your last exposure or out-of-state travel that is either FDA approved or received an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) and
  • It’s been less than 90 days since your final vaccine dose and
  • You haven’t had symptoms of COVID-19 since your last exposure or out-of-state travel.

Always watch for symptoms for a full 14 days. Vaccinated close contacts and travelers should still get a COVID-19 test between 5 and 10 days after their last exposure or out-of-state travel. Vaccinated hospitalized patients and long-term care facility residents must still quarantine for 14 days. 

If you get symptoms of COVID-19, isolate at home, call your healthcare provider, and get a COVID-19 test.

Use these tools and resources to learn more:

What to do if you or a close contact has COVID-19

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, isolate at home and call your healthcare provider. Get a COVID-19 test.

If you test positive for COVID-19, RIDOH will call you within a few days. If you learn that you are positive for COVID-19 before RIDOH calls you, you should take action right away. Do not wait for RIDOH to call you to start making changes in your life and your daily routine.

  • Stay home (isolate) for at least 10 days. Someone with COVID-19 needs to isolate even if they do not have symptoms of COVID-19. Only leave isolation for medical emergencies.
    • If you have symptoms, stay home for at least 10 days since you started having symptoms.
    • If you do not have symptoms, stay home for at least 10 days from the day you were tested.
    • Have things you need delivered. Ask friends and family to drop off items that you need at your door, like food and other necessities.
    • Do not go to work or school for at least 10 days. Call your employer or school to inform them that you have tested positive and will be out for at least 10 days.
    • Call your primary care provider if you have one to let them know you have tested positive.
    • If you have a weakened immune system, also known as being “immunocompromised,” you may need to isolate for 20 days. Talk to your healthcare provider if you think this applies to you.
  • Do your best to keep a distance from those you live with.
    • If you can, use a separate bathroom and bedroom. Stay out of the kitchen and other rooms where people in your home gather.
    • If you must be in the same room as others, wear a mask.
  • Get help if you feel sick. Call your primary care provider or an urgent care center to get medical advice.
    • Tell them you have COVID-19.
    • Call 911 or the nearest hospital if you think you are having a medical emergency. This can include trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, the inability to wake or stay awake, or bluish lips or face.
  • Write a list of the people you have been in close contact with, within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes, during the 2 days before you got tested or started having COVID-19 symptoms until the time you started isolating at home. These are people who might get COVID-19 from being around you.
    • Consider any contacts you spend time with, visit, volunteer with, ride in a car with, or attend a place of worship with.
    • Let your close contacts know you have COVID-19.
  • Answer the phone when RIDOH calls. Answering questions about why you were tested, your symptoms, and who you have been in close contact with will help RIDOH slow the spread of COVID-19.
    • RIDOH can also help you get some things you may need while you need to stay home.
    • You can sign up for a text message monitoring program. Through this program, you can send texts to RIDOH if you need things while at home, such as food and other supports.
    • Help is available for Rhode Islanders living in quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19. 
    • For more general questions, write to [email protected].
  • If you have symptoms or test positive after you’ve gotten any COVID-19 vaccine, nothing changes with isolation. Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine.

If you have COVID-19, you can end isolation and leave home after these three things have happened:

  • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared (20 days if you are immunocompromised*) and
  • You have had no fever for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications and
  • Your symptoms have improved

If you tested positive but never had symptoms, you must isolate for 10 days from the date that you were tested (20 days if you are immunocompromised*).

*Review more detailed guidance on quarantine and isolation for different populations.

Except for rare situations, after testing positive, you do not need to get another test for COVID-19 to end isolation.

  • If someone you live with tests positive, you need to stay home too. This is because you have been in close contact with them while they have had COVID-19. You could get COVID-19 and spread it to others.
  • While the person who tested positive stays home, if you cannot avoid close contact with them and keep a physical distance of 6 feet at all times, you must stay at home (quarantine) for the time that they are infected (10 days) plus an additional 10 days. Continue to monitor yourself for symptoms for an additional 4 days.
    • This is because symptoms can develop up to 14 days after the last day of being in close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
    • You may shorten the additional 10 days to 7 days if you have a negative result from a test taken 5 days or more after the person you live with ended home isolation. Continue to monitor yourself for symptoms for an additional 7 days.
  • While the person who tested positive stays home, if you can avoid additional contact with them and completely separate from them while they stay in a separate bedroom at all times and use a separate bathroom from others in the home, you must stay at home (quarantine) for 10 days from when they began home isolation.
    • You may shorten your quarantine to 7 days if you have a negative result from a test taken at least 5 days after your last close contact with the infected person and if you continue to avoid close contact with them until they complete isolation. Continue to monitor yourself for symptoms for an additional 3 days.
    • If the person who tested positive is able to stay in their own room, people in the house should bring them their food and check on them from a distance.
  • Call the employers and schools of everyone living in your household to let them know people will not be at work or school. The length of quarantine ranges from 7 to 10 days if you’re able to stay separate from the sick person to 17 to 20 days if you’re not able to separate from the sick person. RIDOH will give the person who tested positive the exact dates of quarantine for household members when they call.
    • Watch for all the symptoms of COVID-19 in everyone living with you.
    • Do a temperature check twice a day (fever is greater than 100.4 degrees F).
  • Get tested if any symptoms of COVID-19 are present.
    • Call your healthcare provider for help getting tested or look online for a testing site.
    • If you get tested during your quarantine and test negative, you still must remain in quarantine.
    • If you get tested during your quarantine and test positive, you should continue to stay at home and follow the instructions above for what you need to do if you test positive.
  • If you’ve tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days and completed your isolation period, you are not considered a close contact and do not need to quarantine if you are near someone with COVID-19 within that 90-day period. The 90-day period starts on the day of symptom onset or the day of your positive test if you were asymptomatic (Day 0). Continue to monitor for symptoms and get tested if symptoms appear.

Once you’ve gotten any COVID-19 vaccine, you do not need to quarantine if: 

  • You’ve gotten a final dose at least 14 days before your last exposure or out-of-state travel that is either FDA approved or received an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) and
  • It’s been less than 90 days since your final vaccine dose and
  • You haven’t had symptoms of COVID-19 since your last exposure or out-of-state travel.

Always watch for symptoms for a full 14 days. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, isolate at home and get tested. Vaccinated close contacts and travelers should still get a COVID-19 test between 5 and 10 days after their last exposure or out-of-state travel. Vaccinated hospitalized patients and long-term care facility residents must still quarantine for 14 days.  

Generally, a close contact is someone you have been within 6 feet of for 15 minutes or more starting 2 days before they got tested or started having symptoms of COVID-19. Someone that you briefly interacted with from a distance of more than 6 feet is not a close contact.

  • Stay home (quarantine) for 10 days from the day they were last with you.
    • You may shorten your quarantine to 7 days if you have a negative result from a test taken at least 5 days after the day they were last with you. Continue to monitor yourself for symptoms for an additional 3 days.
  • Call your employer or school to let them know you are a close contact of a person with COVID-19 and are staying at home awaiting a call from RIDOH.
    • RIDOH can provide an absence note from work or school for people in quarantine.
  • Watch for symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Get tested if any symptoms of COVID-19 are present.
    • Call your healthcare provider for help getting tested or look online for a testing site.
    • If you have a negative result from a test taken at least 5 days after the day you were last with your close contact, you may shorten your quarantine to 7 days and continue to monitor yourself for symptoms for an additional 3 days. But, if you have symptoms within 14 days of close contact to a person with COVID-19, even if your test was negative, stay home and isolate from others until you are fever free for 24 hours and your symptoms are improved. Call a healthcare provider if your symptoms worsen or do not improve in 2 to 3 days. You may need to get another test for COVID-19 if you are not improving.
    • If you get tested during your quarantine and test positive, you should continue to stay at home and follow the instructions above for what you need to do if you test positive.
  • Answer the phone when RIDOH calls. RIDOH may call close contacts to provide information about quarantining. Following quarantine instructions from RIDOH can slow the spread of COVID-19. RIDOH can also help get some things for people who need to stay home.
  • If you’ve tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days and completed your isolation period, you are not considered a close contact and do not need to quarantine if you are near someone with COVID-19 within that 90-day period. The 90-day period starts on the day of symptom onset or the day of your positive test if you were asymptomatic (Day 0). Continue to monitor for symptoms and get tested if symptoms appear.

Once you’ve gotten any COVID-19 vaccine, you do not need to quarantine if: 

  • You’ve gotten a final dose at least 14 days before your last exposure or out-of-state travel that is either FDA approved or received an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) and
  • It’s been less than 90 days since your final vaccine dose and
  • You haven’t had symptoms of COVID-19 since your last exposure or out-of-state travel.

Always watch for symptoms for a full 14 days. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, isolate at home and get tested. Vaccinated close contacts and travelers should still get a COVID-19 test between 5 and 10 days after their last exposure or out-of-state travel. Vaccinated hospitalized patients and long-term care facility residents must still quarantine for 14 days.  

  • As much as possible, people should stay 6 feet apart and masked.
  • Anyone who was within 6 feet of the person who tested positive for more than 15 minutes while the person was infectious should stay home from all activities, including work, and follow the directions above under What you need to do if a close contact you don’t live with tests positive.
    • A person with COVID-19 who has symptoms is infectious starting 2 days before the symptoms started. A person with COVID-19 who does not have symptoms is infectious starting 2 days before the day they were tested.
  • As you communicate with people in your group who were in close contact with a COVID-infected person in the group, you can use the following language from RIDOH:
    • A person in our group has tested positive for COVID-19. You have probably been in close contact with the infected person. RIDOH recommends that close contacts stay home and follow the recommendations at covid.ri.gov/whattodo. Following quarantine instructions from RIDOH can slow the spread of COVID-19.
  • For help with food delivery, supplies, housing assistance, benefits, or other assistance, call 2-1-1 Option 6.

  • If you get a call from a RIDOH Case Investigator, you can tell them your household needs support and a member of the RIDOH or United Way team will reach out to assist you.

  • If you live in Central Fall or Pawtucket and need assistance for your household, you can call the BeatCOVID Hotline, 1-855-843-7620.