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If I test positive for COVID-19, how long must I remain in isolation?

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Any person with a positive test for COVID-19 OR symptoms of COVID-19, including early or mild symptoms, must remain in isolation (i.e., stay away from others) until:

  • At least 10 days (minimum) have passed from the date of the positive test
  • No fever (i.e., no fever without the use of medicine that reduces fevers) for at least 24 hours
  • Any symptoms (e.g., shortness of breath) have improved
  • At least 10 days have passed since symptom onset (Note: This means that people with symptoms may be required to quarantine for longer than the minimum 10 days if they have no symptoms on the date of testing but develop symptoms after.)
  • Your health-care provider has advised that it is safe to leave isolation.
Last update: Thursday, Aug 20, 2020 - 10:37am

How long does quarantine for close contacts last? When will I be able to return to in-person classes or work?

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Guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Information and Guidance for Persons in Quarantine due to COVID-19 and the COVID-19 Higher Education Control Plan states that close contacts are to remain quarantined for:

• at least 14 days from the date of last exposure; or
• at least 10 days, provided all of the following are satisfied:
• there are no symptoms of COVID-19;
• a molecular diagnostic test (e.g., polymerase chain reaction (PCR)) to detect the presence of the virus is performed on day 8 or later of the quarantine;
• the molecular diagnostic test is negative; and
• the individual monitors themselves for symptoms for the full 14 days and if symptoms develop symptoms the individual mist should contact their health care provider and be re-tested.

Tufts students, faculty and staff who are close contacts of individuals with COVID-19 are to remain in quarantine and follow the state guidelines referenced above. If a student, faculty or staff member is identified as a close contact and requires quarantine, a COVID-19 PCR test will be performed as soon as possible, on day 4-5 and again on day 8-10.

If the result of the test obtained on day 8-10 is negative, the individual will be able to resume normal activities on day 11; however, they must continue to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for the full 14 days and continue in routine COVID-19 surveillance testing provided by Tufts at their normal frequency (once, twice or three times per week).

Last update: Tuesday, Dec 1, 2020 - 10:35am

These FAQs are subject to change. Please check back here for the latest guidance. If you do not  find the information you are looking for, please send an email to