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What to do after COVID-19 exposure, even if you are vaccinated

The recommendations for quarantining after exposure to COVID-19 are different depending on a person’s vaccination status.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — More than 7.1 million Pennsylvanians are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. However, breakthrough cases do happen. There have been more than 35,000 breakthrough cases reported across the Commonwealth.

COVID-19 health and safety guidelines are crucial for businesses, schools and communities that are trying to safely return to some version of normalcy. The recommendations for quarantining after exposure to COVID-19 are different depending on a person’s vaccination status.

Exposure is defined as being within 6 feet of an infected person for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently updated their quarantine and isolation guidelines to help people decide what to do.

If you are fully vaccinated

The agency says you do not need to quarantine after exposure unless the infected person has symptoms. In that case, take a test 3 to 5 days after exposure and wear a mask indoors until you test negative.

Isolate for 10 days if you get a positive COVID-19 result.

If you are not vaccinated

Quarantine for 14 days. Continue to watch for symptoms for an additional 14 days.

You may only need to quarantine for one week if you test negative for COVID-19. The test must be taken at least 5 days after exposure.

Quarantine is different from isolation. People isolate when they have been infected with the virus, even if they do not have symptoms. The CDC still advises people infected with the virus to stay home until it is safe for them to be around others, including people that they live with.

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