Isolation/Quarantine Guidelines

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Contact the Health Center

Faculty and staff are asked to refer individuals to the Health Center AND email the Health Center with the name and contact information of individuals who report contact with COVID positive persons or who report COVID like symptoms or a positive COVID test.

Phone: 610-861-5365
Hours: M-F 7:00-8:30am (via phone); 8:30am-4:00pm (in-person and via phone)
Before/After Hours: Leave a message, your call will be returned as quickly as possible.
Email: healthcenter@northampton.edu

Contact with someone who has COVID-19 – When to Quarantine:

If you are Unvaccinated

  • Quarantine for 14 days if you have been in close contact (close contact is defined as within 6 feet of someone for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) with someone who has COVID-19.
  • Anyone who has had close contact with someone with COVID-19 should stay home for 14 days after their last exposure to that person. Consider testing 5-7 days after exposure. Health Center can order testing.
  • Household contacts will need to quarantine for the 10 days that their household member is contagious, plus an additional 14 days after their last exposure to the person that they live with (24 days).

If you are Vaccinated
(People who are fully vaccinated or Someone who has COVID-19 illness within the previous 3 months and has recovered and remains without COVID-19 symptoms (for example, cough, shortness of breath)

  • Do NOT need to quarantine after contact with someone who had COVID-19 unless they have symptoms.
    • However, fully vaccinated people should get tested 3-5 days after their exposure, even if they don’t have symptoms and wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days following exposure or until their test result is negative. Health Center can order testing.
  • If symptoms develop in both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals, immediately self-isolate and contact the Health Center and healthcare provider.

When to Isolate?

  • Isolation is used to separate people infected with COVID-19/suspected of having COVID from those who are not infected.
  • People who test positive for COVID or who have COVID-like symptoms need to isolate for a minimum of 10 days, meaning they should stay home until it’s safe for them to be around others. At home, anyone sick or infected should separate from others, stay in a specific “sick room” or area, and use a separate bathroom (if available).
  • Persons with COVID-like symptoms who choose not to test should stay home for the full 10 days before returning.
  • Persons who test at least 24 hours after symptom development, and who test negative, may resume normal activities when their symptoms resolve
  • If you test positive or suspect infection:
    • Monitor your symptoms. If you have an emergency warning sign (including trouble breathing), seek emergency medical care immediately.
    • Stay in a separate room from other household members, if possible.
    • Use a separate bathroom, if possible.
    • Avoid contact with other members of the household and pets.
    • Don’t share personal household items, like cups, towels, and utensils.
    • Wear a mask when around other people if able.
  • Most people do not require testing to decide when they can be around others. Infected persons can be around others after:
    • 10 days since symptoms first appeared and
    • 24 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
    • Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving*

      *Loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation

Note that these recommendations do not apply to people with severe COVID-19 or with weakened immune systems (immunocompromised).

When can I be around other individuals if I tested positive?

  • Persons who tested positive for COVID-19 but had no symptoms can be with others after 10 days have passed since receiving a positive viral test for COVID-19.
  • People who are severely ill with COVID-19 might need to stay home longer than 10 days and up to 20 days after symptoms first appeared. People with weakened immune systems may require testing to determine when they can be around others. Talk to your healthcare provider for more information. Your healthcare provider will let you know if you can resume being around other people based on the results of your testing.
  • People who are immunocompromised should be counseled about the potential for reduced immune responses to COVID-19 vaccines and the need to continue to follow current prevention measures (including wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others they don't live with, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces) to protect themselves against COVID-19 until advised otherwise by their healthcare provider. Close contacts of immunocompromised people should also be encouraged to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to help protect these people.

When should I wear a facial covering/mask?

  • Correct and consistent mask use is a critical step that people can take to protect themselves and others from COVID-19. However, the type of masks used and whether they are used consistently and correctly varies throughout the general population.
  • Except for students in K-12, mask use is not considered when defining a close contact during case investigation and contact tracing, regardless of whether the person diagnosed with COVID-19 or the person exposed to SARS-CoV-2 was wearing a mask.
  • Mask use is not considered when defining a close contact during case investigation and contact tracing, regardless of whether the person diagnosed with COVID-19 or the person exposed to SARS-CoV-2 was wearing a mask.

What if someone in my class or office space shares that they have been exposed to someone with COVID or they themselves have tested positive for COVID?

  • First, have the individual please contact the Health Center. In addition, you should also reach out the Health Center with the information you’ve been provided.
  • In classroom/office situations where we can identify close contacts, vaccine status will determine next steps. (see guidelines above)
  • In classroom/office situations where it is unclear who may or may not meet the criteria as close contacts, all members of the class as well as the instructor will be considered contacts. Vaccine status will determine next steps. (see guidelines above)