Being COVID-19 Positive

Information about what to do after you have tested positive for COVID-19.

Being COVID positive icon

Test to Treat Program

Through this federal program, people can get tested for COVID-19 and treated with medication all in one place.  It is important to go to one of the many local identified clinics as soon as symptoms appear.  For more information about the program and locations near you, visit the Test to Treat website or call 1-800-232-0233 (Help is avilable in many languages).

Isolation Guidelines

The CDC updated its COVID-19 Isolation guidance in May. 

  • You no longer need to quarantine if you were exposed to COVID-19, regardless of your vaccination status.
  • Those who test positive should still isolate for at least five days and wear a mask around others for an additional five days. Additional information about ending isolation can be found here.
  • If you were exposed, you should wear a mask around others for 10 days and get tested on day five. Get tested right away if you start to feel sick.
  • It is no longer necessary to test asymptomatic people for COVID-19. Such testing is still recommended in certain high-risk settings (i.e. nursing homes, prisons, homeless shelters).

You can also contact the Health Department at 410-313-6284 for additional guidance regarding your quarantine or isolation.

What to do if you test positive for COVID-19
  • Isolate
  • Identify and notify close contacts, so they can get tested and quarantine.
  • Contact your health care provider for any medical guidance needed and to ask about treatment options.

If you test positive:

You should isolate for 5 days (longer if symptoms remain) and then wear a mask in public for an additional 5 days, following CDC guidance.

If you are a close contact:

Regardless of vaccination status, quarantine is NO LONGER RECOMMENDED unless you have symptoms. However, you should get tested five days after their exposure, even if you don’t have symptoms and wear a mask indoors in public for 10 days following exposure or until your test result is negative.

You can also contact the Health Department at 410-313-6284 for additional guidance regarding your quarantine or isolation.


If you are exhibiting any of the symptoms above and think you might have COVID, you should:

  • Seek medical care if you are experiencing severe COVID-19 symptoms. Call ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room and tell them about your positive COVID test or suspected diagnosis.
  • Stay home except for seeking medical care and avoid contact with others.
  • Ask your doctor about Antiviral Treatment

You can also visit the Test to Treat website for locations of local clinics that can provide testing and treatment (medication) for COVID all in one place.  You can also call 1-800-232-0233.

Resources for Those Newly Diagnosed with COVID
Resources for those with Post-COVID Conditions
Contact Tracing

The Howard County Health Department continues to perform contact tracing and provide support for high-risk positive COVID-19 cases. If you or a family member have tested positive for COVID-19 and would like additional guidance regarding isolation recommendations, you can reach our Contact Tracing team at 410-313-6284 (Monday-Friday, 8:30am-4:30pm). 

What is Contact Tracing? infographic


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