Page update at 09:20 September 10th 2020

Self-isolation explained

Self-isolation is an important way to protect yourself and others and slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Self-isolation means staying at home, and applies to those who have symptoms or those who live in the same household as someone with symptoms. It is different from social distancing, which refers to the steps you can take to reduce social interaction.
If you have been told to self-isolate and you live alone, you need to stay at home for at least two weeks (14 days) and avoid contact with other people.

It is important to remember that you can still spread coronavirus even if you do not have symptoms. You must isolate for at least 14 days. If you had a fever, you must be fever-free for three days and have improved symptoms, in addition to the 14-day isolation.

If you have recently traveled to an area where coronavirus is spreading, or you have been in contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus, you need to stay home for 14 days.

How to self-isolate in case of coronavirus symptoms

  • Stay at home
  • Avoid public transportation, ride-sharing (like Uber and Lyft), and taxis
  • Stay away from others as much as possible if you feel sick
  • If you go outside, stay at least six feet away from others
  • Do not invite visitors into your home
  • Have groceries and medicine delivered to your house by friends, family, or delivery services
  • Ask for deliveries to be left outside your house for you to collect, unless delivered by a member of your household

If you live with other people:

If you are sick and live with someone at higher risk for complications from coronavirus, try to arrange for them to stay elsewhere for 14 days. If this is not possible:

  • Stay in a specific “sick room” away from other people in the home
  • Wear a facemask around other people
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and dispose of it immediately after
  • Wash your hands often, following the CDC’s recommendations
  • Avoid sharing personal household items
  • Clean and disinfect all high-touch surfaces everyday

How to cope with self-isolation


Self-isolation can be a challenging time, both mentally and physically. We’ve put together some helpful tips on how to cope with staying at home.

Read more