Chicago News and Media

What To Do When You Are Sick

If you’re sick, you must stay home (except to get medical care) for 10 days since your symptoms first appeared and at least 24 hours with no fever and improved symptoms, whichever is longer. Stay away from others and isolate in a separate room, if possible. Always wear a face-covering when you need to be around others (even at home). To get tested, call your healthcare provider or find a testing site near you.

If a household member is sick and you are not fully vaccinated, you should quarantine. You should quarantine for 10 days or quarantine for 7 days with a negative test on Day 5 or after. You should verify which quarantine period is required by your workplace before returning to work. Consider having everyone in your home wear a face covering as soon as one household member becomes sick. If you develop symptoms, you should get tested for COVID-19. If your test is positive you should isolate for 10 more days.

If a household member is sick and you are fully vaccinated, you don’t need to quarantine unless you develop symptoms.  If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, you should isolate and be evaluated by a medical provider.


Stay home

If you’re sick you must stay home and cannot return to school or work until it has been:

  • at least 10 days since your symptoms first appeared; and,
  • at least 1 day (24 hours) with no fever (without using fever-reducing medications) and improved symptoms, whichever is longer. 

For example, if you have a fever and coughing for 7 days, you need to stay home 3 more days for a total of 10 days. Or, if you have a fever and coughing for 10 days, you need to stay home 1 more day with no fever for a total of 11 days.

Follow these guidelines

If you’re mildly ill and can recover at home, follow the steps below to care for yourself and to help protect other people in your home and community.

  • Stay home except to get medical care
  • Stay away from other people in your home
  • Clean your hands often
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes
  • Wear a face covering if you must be around other people (even at home)
  • Avoid sharing personal household items
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily, like doorknobs, light switches, phones, and faucets
  • Monitor your symptoms
  • Call ahead before visiting your doctor

 Learn more at Centers of Disease Control & Prevention.

Caring for someone who is sick

If you’re living with someone who is sick or have been in close contact with a person sick with COVID-19, you need to quarantine unless you have been fully vaccinated. Monitor your symptoms and do not go to work or school. If you’re caring for someone sick at home follow these guidelines from the Centers of Disease Control & Prevention.

If you’re an essential worker who has been exposed to COVID-19, you may continue to work, as long as you don’t develop any COVID-19 symptoms. Follow these CDPH recommendations for essential workers.

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