Call the COVID-19 resource line at 503-846-8123 if you still need assistance after reading this page.
Handbook: COVID-19, After You Get Tested
Multnomah, Clackamas, Columbia and Washington County put together this comprehensive guide to help people who have been tested for COVID-19.
The document includes information on isolation and quarantine, what you can and can't do, how to tell close contacts you tested positive, telling your employer, ways to manage respiratory symptoms at home, how to stop the spread of germs, using a face covering properly and more.
Stay home to prevent the spread of COVID-19
If you test positive for COVID-19, have symptoms of the virus, or have been in close contact (six feet for 15 minutes or more) with someone who has the virus, stay home and separated from other people, even those in your immediate household. The CDC has a helpful website that explains what to do if you are sick, when to isolate and quarantine, and how to care for someone with COVID-19. You can also download the handbook above for more guidance.
Monitor your symptoms
Seek prompt medical attention if your illness gets worse (e.g., difficulty breathing). Notify the 9-1-1 operator that you have, or are being evaluated for COVID-19. If possible, put on a facemask before emergency medical services arrive. If you have a medical appointment, call the health care provider and tell them you have or may have COVID-19. This will help the provider’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed.
Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home
- Stay in a separate bedroom.
- Use a separate bathroom.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Cough or sneeze into your sleeve or a tissue, not into your bare hand.
- Use paper towels for drying hands instead of cloth towels if possible. If cloth towels are used, do not share with others in the home. Replace wet towels with clean dry towels.
- Avoid being in the same room as other household members and pets.
- Have only one person care for you.
- Ask your caregiver to leave food outside your door and to wash their hands after picking up your used dishes.
- Use the phone or computer to communicate with others in the household.
- Don’t share personal household items like towels, linens, dishes and other utensils.
- Wash your hands with warm water for 20-30 seconds after cleaning, before and after eating and after using the bathroom.
- If you have to be around other household members, wear a face covering and have them wear face coverings.
- Open windows to bring fresh air in, but avoid using fans or air conditioners that move air around and can spread COVID-19 droplets.
If you are caring for small children or cannot easily separate from others
- Isolate yourself by moving a couch, bed or sleeping bag to one corner of a shared room.
- Use a tent or sheets draped over chairs or taped to the ceiling to provide a barrier between you and others in the house.
- Wipe down surfaces with bleach-based product in shared room or bathroom. Use CDC recommendations to prepare a diluted bleach solution at home.
- Line your garbage can with a plastic bag and designate only one can for used tissues; wash hands after emptying.
- Ask young children to wash their hands frequently and if children are 2 or older have them wear face coverings.
- If you live with others who have underlying health conditions or who are over age 65, you may want to find another place to isolate until you are no longer contagious.
If you are caring for the sick person
- Limit the number of caregivers. Choose one person, in good health, to look after the needs of the person who is ill.
- Wash your hands with soap and water immediately after any contact with the ill individual or their immediate environment.
- To prevent droplet spread, the ill person should wear a mask when they are around other people. If they are unable to wear a mask, the caregiver should wear one when in the same room.
- Sneezing and coughing should be covered with a disposable paper tissue.
- Keep the ill person’s used linens and eating utensils separate.
- Put patient’s used clothes, linens and towels in a laundry bag. Do not shake dirty laundry. Protect skin and clothing from direct contact with soiled laundry.
- Wash the patient’s clothes, sheets and towels with regular laundry detergent in a washing machine and dry completely.
- Keep a trash bin with a lid in the patient’s room. Wear gloves and mask while disposing of the trash bag. Wash your hands immediately after.
- Disposable masks, gloves and plastic aprons should be thrown away in the sick person's room. Clean hands before and after glove use.
When to discontinue home isolation
You can leave home after it has been:
- 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.
For more information, see the CDC website.