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What to Do If You Are A Close Contact

May 3, 2021

What To Do If You Are a Close Contact

DHS Quarantine_12-8-20

If you are a close contact to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 it is important to know with the surge of cases Lincoln County Health Department has changed how we follow up with close contacts. 

Vilas County Public Health Department has updated quarantine guidance for close contacts of someone diagnosed with COVID-19, in response to the guidance released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. A 14-day quarantine remains the safest option if you are a close contact of someone who has COVID-19.

Vilas County Public Health Department will follow a 14 day quarantine, but is subject to change if the following occurs:

     * Close contact tests positive for COVID-19.
     * Close contact does not develop symptoms, can end their quarantine:
               * After completing day 10 of quarantine without testing. 

Important note for household contacts: You will have a longer quarantine period, as your 14 day quarantine, or the shortened quarantine time if criteria is met, begins on the last day of isolation for the positive case in your home.  

Individuals must continue to monitor symptoms for the full 14 days. If symptoms develop following the end of quarantine, individuals are advised to immediately isolate, contact their health care provider, and get tested. 

*High-risk, congregate settings such as long-term care facilities, shelters, jails, and prisons must determine on a case-by-case basis whether the potential benefits of shortened quarantine outweigh the risks of post-quarantine transmission.

It is important to note that some worksites, organizations, or schools might have stricter policies than the new DHS guidelines. 

Quarantine means:

  • Physical distance yourself from others, especially those in your home.
  • Do not go to work, school, or public places during this period.
  • Monitor for symptoms for the full 14 days of quarantine.
  • Discuss your exposure with your employer.
  • If you develop symptoms, testing is recommended. Visit our testing page for a list of testing opportunities.

You are a “close contact” if any of the following situations happened while you spent time with the person with COVID-19 (even if they didn’t have symptoms):

  • Had direct physical contact with the person (ex: hug, kiss, handshake)
  • Were within 6 feet of the person for more than 15 minutes.
  • Had contact with the person’s respiratory secretions (ex: coughed or sneezed on, contact with dirty tissue, sharing a drinking glass, food or towels or other personal items).
  • Stayed overnight for at least one night in a household with the person.
  • It’s important to remember that someone who is sick with COVID-19 can spread it two days before they show symptoms. Not everyone with COVID-19 will have symptoms, but they may still spread it to others.

Resources: DHS Next Steps: Close Contacts of Someone Diagnosed with COVID-19 (English) (Spanish), Negative COVID-19 Test Results: What Does It Mean? (English) (Spanish)

WI Exposure Notification

WI Exposure Notification lets you keep others safe and alerts you faster if you've been in close contact with someone who has #COVID19, all while protecting your information. Download or enable the app on your Android phone or iPhone, and learn more at

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