Toolkit - COVID-19 Cases

I have COVID-19, now what?
If you do NOT work or live in a high risk setting or attend a K-12 school public health will ask you to notify your close contacts that they have been exposed. You should ask them to stay home and/or away from others for 14 days so if they develop COVID-19, they don’t get others sick. Staying home the whole time is important because people can spread COVID-19 before they know they are sick.

There is information below to help you understand who could be your "close contact" and would have been exposed to COVID-19.  You should ask your close contacts to view our Toolkit for Close Contacts so they know what to do to protect themselves and others.

Additional guidance is available for people who have or think they may have COVID-19:

•  What to do if you have confirmed or suspected COVID-19: (English), (Spanish), (Russian)
• What to do if you were potentially exposed to someone with COVID-19: (English), (Spanish), (Russian)
• What to do if you have symptoms of COVID-19 and have not been around anyone diagnosed with COVID-19: (English), (Spanish), (Russian)
• Recommended guidance for daily COVID-19 screening of employees and visitors: (English), (Spanish), (Russian)

•  Interim guidance for implementing safety practices for critical infrastructure workers who may have had exposure to a person with suspected or con­firmed COVID-19: (English) 

What is isolation?
Isolation is the term used when people need to stay home because they DO have symptoms (or have tested positive for COVID-19) and are considered contagious. When you are in isolation, you are or have been feeling sick. Your family members who live in your house with you are quarantined*. They need to stay in the house but away from you!

*People who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 do not need to quarantine after contact with someone who had COVID-19 unless they have
symptoms. Fully vaccinated people should get tested 3-5 days after their exposure, even if they don’t have symptoms and wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days following exposure or until their test result is negative. Someone is considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after getting their second dose of the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or 2 weeks after getting the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

How long should I isolate myself?
For COVID-19, the isolation period is at least 10 days from:

•  The very first day your symptoms started AND
•  You have gone at least 24 hours with no fever (without fever-reducing medication) AND
•  Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving, with the exception of loss of taste and smell, which may persist for weeks or months after recovery (this will not delay the end of isolation)

If you never developed symptoms, your isolation period should be 10 days from the date you were tested.  If you develop symptoms AFTER you got tested, then you would use the guidance above based on the date the symptoms started.

I live with other people, what do they do?
If you live with other people, you should try your best to stay away from them. We understand this can be challenging (or impossible), but the more distance between you and them, the less likely they are to catch COVID-19. Some ideas for places to isolate are an RV, a hotel, the apartment above your garage, or a family members house if they are away. If it is impossible for you to stay away from them, they will need to quarantine* for 14 days starting the date you are considered no longer contagious (see previous question for how to determine this date).

*People who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 do not need to quarantine after contact with someone who had COVID-19 unless they have symptoms. Fully vaccinated people should get tested 3-5 days after their exposure, even if they don’t have symptoms and wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days following exposure or until their test result is negative. Someone is considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after getting their second dose of the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or 2 weeks after getting the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

What if I don’t have everything I need to stay home and isolate?
If you find you need something that would take you out of your home, the Community CarePort program through Cascade Pacific Action Alliance may be able to help. Please call 1-800-662-2499  to request assistance.

How do I get a letter excusing me from work while I isolate?
If you need a letter excusing you from work for the duration of your isolation period, please reach out to our Community Health Team.  We can be reached at (360) 414-5599 option 2 during business hours (Mon-Fri, 8:30am-12pm and 1pm-4:30pm).

Who is a “Close Contact”?
A close contact is anyone you believe you were within six feet of for 15 minutes or more while you were contagious. An infected person can spread COVID-19 starting 48 hours (or 2 days) before you have any symptoms or test positive for COVID-19 (whichever is earlier).

How To Determine When Someone Was Contagious
What is a Close Contact

What should my Close Contacts do?
Please let your Close Contacts know they were potentially exposed to you while you were contagious. Your Close Contacts should quarantine* at home and away from others for 14 days since they were last exposed to you so they can monitor themselves for symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others in case they are infected. 

We have created a separate webpage just for them. Please share this link to the webpage with your close contacts: https://www.co.cowlitz.wa.us/2722/Toolkit---COVID-19-Exposure.

*People who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 do not need to quarantine after contact with someone who had COVID-19 unless they have symptoms. Fully vaccinated people should get tested 3-5 days after their exposure, even if they don’t have symptoms and wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days following exposure or until their test result is negative. Someone is considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after getting their second dose of the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or 2 weeks after getting the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.