Should I be tested for COVID-19 infection?

Those who should get tested for COVID-19 include people who:

  • Have symptoms of COVID-19
  • Have had close contact with someone with confirmed COVID-19
    • Close contact means someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person over a 24-hour period for a combined total of 15 minutes or more
  • Have taken part in activities that put them at higher risk for COVID-19 because they cannot socially distance as needed, such as travel, attending large social or mass gatherings, or being in crowded indoor settings.
  • Have been asked or referred to get tested by their healthcare provider or the Department of Health

Follow these guidelines if you are tested for COVID-19

Should I wear a mask?


  • Wearing a mask with two or more layers helps protect yourself and those around you.
  • When worn over your nose and mouth, masks reduce the spread of your respiratory droplets to others.
  • You should wear a mask even if you do not feel sick.  Studies have found that people with COVID-19 who are asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic can still spread the virus to other people.  Wearing a mask protects those around you, in case you are infected but not showing symptoms. 
  • A mask is NOT a substitute for physical distancing (remaining 6 feet apart from others) but is especially important when in close contact with other people, since COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are within about 6 feet of each other.

More information about mask wearing in Hawaii

Mask wearing information from CDC

How long do I have to isolate from others after becoming sick?

People with COVID-19 can end their home isolation period after ALL of the following requirements have been met:

  • At least 10 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared, AND
  • At least 24 hours have passed since you have had a fever, without the use of fever-reducing medicine, AND
  • Other symptoms (for example cough or shortness of breath) have improved.

This guidance also applies to people who have symptoms of COVID-19 (fever AND cough or shortness of breath) but who have not been tested for the virus.

For people who tested positive for COVID-19 but never developed symptoms:

  • Remain in isolation for 10 days after the date your test was collected.

I am a close contact of a COVID-19 case.  Why do I need to stay in quarantine for 10 days if I test negative?

A negative test means that you weren’t infected at the time the test was collected.  It does not mean that you might not still develop COVID-19.  CDC recommends 10 days of quarantine after exposure to someone with COVID-19 based on the time it takes to develop illness if infected. 

Contacts who are fully vaccinated* do not need to quarantine, get tested, or notify their school/employer unless they develop symptoms or live in a congregate setting§

§14-day quarantine still applies to congregate settings (e.g., long-term care facilities, group care homes, assisted living facilities, correctional facilities, shelters, residential rehabilitation and treatment settings, military housing, etc.) regardless of vaccination status

*People are considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after receiving their last dose of COVID-19 vaccine


How can I use ventilation methods to reduce the spread of COVID-19 indoors?

In conjunction with physical distancing, hand washing, and mask wearing, ventilation mitigation strategies can help to reduce the concentration of viral particles in the air. The lower the concentration, the less likely that those viral particles can be inhaled into your lungs; contact your eyes, nose, and mouth; or fall out of the air to accumulate on surfaces. Protective ventilation practices and interventions can reduce the airborne concentration, which reduces the overall viral dose to occupants.

A few examples of ventilation methods you can implement:

  • Open doors and windows to increase fresh air.
  • Use fans to help bring fresh air indoors. Avoid placing fans in a way that could potentially cause contaminated air to flow directly from one person to another.
  • Ensure restroom exhaust fans are functional and operating at full capacity when the building is occupied.
  • Clean your air conditioning (HVAC) filters regularly, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Check filters to ensure they are within their service life and appropriately installed.
  • Make sure your building’s air conditioning (HVAC) system is up-to-date and cleaned regularly, according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Consider portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) fan/filtration systems to help enhance air cleaning (especially in higher risk areas such as a nurse’s office or areas frequently inhabited by persons with higher likelihood of COVID-19 and/or increased risk of getting COVID-19).

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