Testing positive for COVID-19 can be scary. The Denver Department of Public Health & Environment (DDPHE) wants you to know you are not alone during this time and that resources are available to help. If you have questions about these resources, please contact 720-865-5767. Below you’ll find resources on isolation and quarantine guidance.
Isolation is used to separate people with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 from those without COVID-19.
While you are under isolation:
- 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.
- Take steps to improve ventilation at home, 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 well-fitting mask when you need to be around other people.
- People who have a positive viral test for COVID-19, regardless of whether or not they have symptoms.
- People with symptoms of COVID-19, including people who are awaiting test results or have not been tested. People with symptoms should isolate even if they do not know if they have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19.
If you had COVID-19 and had symptoms, isolate for at least 5 days.
- After 5 days you may end isolation IF:
- You have no fever for 24 hours without the use of medication, AND
- Your symptoms are improving, or you never had symptoms
- After you have finished isolating, you should continue to wear a well-fitting mask through day 10.
- If you have a fever, continue to stay home until your fever resolves.
- If you had moderate illness (if you experienced shortness of breath or had difficulty breathing) or severe illness (you were hospitalized due to COVID-19 or have a weakened immune system), you should isolate for 10 days.
- If your child is under 2 years old or can’t or won’t wear a mask, they should isolate for 10 days.
- Loss of taste or smell may persist after recovery and does not need to delay the end of isolation.
- You should continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others at home and in public for 5 additional days (day 6 through day 10) after the end of your 5-day isolation period. If you are unable to wear a mask when around others, you should continue to isolate for a full 10 days.
- Avoid people who have weakened immune systems or are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19, and nursing homes and other high-risk settings, until after at least 10 days..
- Do not go to places where you are unable to wear a mask, such as restaurants and some gyms, and avoid eating around others at home and at work until a full 10 days after your first day of symptoms.
- See additional information about travel
As of Aug. 11, 2022, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention no longer recommends quarantine for people who have been exposed to COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status. However, CDC recommends that people who have been exposed still take precautions to protect others, such as masking around others for 10 days and getting tested five days after exposure.
Quarantine in high-risk congregate settings
COVID-19 Isolation is in effect under the following conditions, regardless of vaccination status:
- Stay home for 5 days after your symptom onset date (or test collection date if you had no symptoms).
- After 5 days, you can leave your house if you have no symptoms or your symptoms are resolving.
- Continue to wear a mask around others for 5 additional days.
- If you have a fever, continue to stay home until your fever resolves.
- When counting days, “day 0” is the day of symptom onset or test collection.
Note: A negative COVID-19 test is NOT required nor advised to end isolation when the above conditions are met. If a negative COVID-19 test is received after a positive test, the full isolation period from the positive test or symptom onset must be completed prior to resuming routine activities.
People who are severely ill with COVID-19 (including those who were hospitalized or required intensive care or ventilation support) and people with compromised immune systems might need to isolate at home longer than 5 days. CDC recommends an isolation period of at least 10 and up to 20 days for people who were severely ill with COVID-19 and for people who are immunocompromised. Consult with your healthcare provider about when you can resume being around other people.
Health care workers should follow their employer’s return to work requirements, which may indicate returning to work sooner, if additional safety measures are taken.
People who live or work in residential or congregate living settings should continue to follow the isolation and quarantine guidance for their setting to mitigate the risk of transmission within the facility.
- Some people who have been infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 can experience long-term effects from their infection, known as post-COVID conditions (PCC) or long COVID.
- What You Need to Know
- Post-COVID conditions can include a wide range of ongoing health problems; these conditions can last weeks, months, or years.
- Post-COVID conditions are found more often in people who had severe COVID-19 illness, but anyone who has been infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 can experience post-COVID conditions, even people who had mild illness or no symptoms from COVID-19.
- People who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 and become infected may also be at higher risk of developing post-COVID conditions compared to people who were vaccinated and had breakthrough infections.
- There is no single test for post-COVID conditions. While most people with post-COVID conditions have evidence of infection or COVID-19 illness, in some cases, a person with post-COVID conditions may not have tested positive for the virus or known they were infected.
- CDC and partners are working to understand more about who experiences post-COVID conditions and why, including whether groups disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 are at higher risk.
- As of July 2021, “long COVID,” also known as post-COVID conditions, can be considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Learn more: Guidance on “Long COVID” as a Disability Under the ADA, Section 504, and Section 1557
- In Denver, the National Jewish Center for Post-COVID Care and Recovery is a multidisciplinary clinic that can help patients recover from long COVID: https://www.nationaljewish.org/directory/center-for-post-covid-19-care-and-recovery
- For further information about long COVID, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/long-term-effects/index.html
There are many free community and pharmacy-based testing sites across Colorado that provide PCR test results within two days. Making an appointment is easy, and many free community testing sites do not require insurance or ID. Additional information is available on the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) Testing site.
Who should get tested?
- Anyone who wants a test should get one. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, which can feel like a cold, you should get tested as soon as possible, even if you’re fully vaccinated. Follow instructions on how to isolate until you feel better.
- If you have been around someone who has COVID-19, you should get tested five days after you were exposed, even if you’ve received all recommended doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. If you are unvaccinated (or if you are due for a follow-up/booster dose and haven’t gotten one yet) and were exposed to someone with COVID-19, follow instructions on how to quarantine.
Note: A negative COVID-19 test is NOT required NOR advised to end isolation when the above conditions are met. If a negative COVID-19 test is received after a positive test within the 10-day period of isolation, the full isolation period from the positive test or symptom onset must be completed prior to resuming routine activities. You may continue to test positive for up to 90 days after your initial test, even after you are no longer infectious and meet the criteria to leave isolation.
Free COVID-19 Tests Available at Denver Recreation Centers
- COVID-19 tests will be available for pick up during regular operating hours at all Denver Recreation Centers (except for La Alma, which is currently closed). Each test kit contains two tests and residents are eligible to receive up to two free test kits while supplies last.
- The free tests are iHealth Labs over-the-counter COVID-19 Antigen rapid tests. They take 15 minutes to provide a result and instructions are included on the box in English and available online in Spanish. Once a test result is available, an individual should review these instructions on how to interpret and report the results.
If you test positive or think you might have COVID-19, you may be able to get treatment to help you recover. Treatment works best if it’s taken within a few days of when you first got sick. It’s important to seek treatment fast to lower your risk of serious illness.
If you have mild to moderate symptoms and your symptoms began within the past few days, call your doctor or health care provider as soon as you can to ask about treatment. If you do not have a provider or health insurance, you can find a place to get treatment using CDPHE’s treatment map.
Types of treatment
There are different types of treatments available in Colorado. Some treatments are given as infusions, either through an IV or through injections (like a vaccine). Other treatments are pills you take by mouth.
Monoclonal antibody therapy
When you have COVID-19, you may need some help. DDPHE has included a list of resources available to those who live and work in Denver.
Food Bank Locations and Other Resources
Community Food Partners
Benefits in Action
Benefits in Action is dedicated to supporting our diverse community with a focus on the elderly and underserved, to improve their understanding, access, and utilization of food- and health-related benefits to enhance food security, health, and well-being.
720-221-8354 | benefitsinaction.org/food-delivery
Food Bank of the Rockies
Food Bank of the Rockies is the largest hunger-relief organization in the Rocky Mountain region.
303-371-9250 | foodbankrockies.org/find-food
Colorado PEAK is an online service for Coloradans to screen and apply for medical, food, cash, and early childhood assistance programs as well as other types of cash assistance including Colorado Works (also known as TANF)
Apply Online for Assistance
Prefer to print and mail your application? Download one of the following PDFs:
Denver Human Services (DHS)
DHS helps children, older adults, families and individuals navigate social and economic pressures by connecting them to services and experts who support their overall well-being.
720-944-4347 | Denvergov.org/HumanServices
Colorado Labor and Employment (Labor Law)
The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment connects job seekers with great jobs, provides an up-to-date and accurate picture of the economy to help decision making, assists workers who have been injured on the job, ensures fair labor practices, helps those who have lost their jobs by providing temporary wage replacement through unemployment benefits, and protects the workplace - and Colorado communities - with a variety of consumer protection and safety programs.
Learn more about Wage and Hour Law
Colorado Legal Services
Colorado Legal Services is a non-profit agency that provides free legal advice, clinics and representation to eligible low-income Coloradans and seniors.
Colorado Legal Services
Colorado Unemployment Claims
This resource helps people who have lost their jobs by providing temporary wage replacement through Unemployment Insurance benefits. Unemployment Insurance helps workers’ pay their bills and contributes to the economic stability of the state.
Colorado Unemployment Claims Information
Paid Sick Leave and the Colorado Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (HFWA)
HFWA requires Colorado employers to provide two types of paid sick leave to their employees: public health emergency leave and accrued leave.
Rental, Mortgage, and Utility Assistance
Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP)
Tenants who have been unable to pay rent due to financial hardship caused by COVID-19 may be eligible for rental assistance from their county or the State. The Colorado ERAP can help cover rent as far back as April 2020. Help can include past due, current, and two additional months of rent up to a maximum of 15 months of assistance.
1-888-480-0066 | Colorado Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program
Temporary Rental and Utility Assistance Program (TRUA)
The TRUA program is to assist residents of the City and County of Denver who are facing a housing crisis or hardship due to circumstances beyond their control.
Call 3-1-1 and press option 6 | Rent and Utility Assistance in Denver
Denver Human Services (DHS) Emergency Assistance
Emergency assistance is available to qualifying Denver residents only. Emergency assistance services include evictions, rental, and mortgage assistance, first month's rent and deposit assistance, and help with some energy bills.
720-944-4DHS | Emergency Assistance from DHS
Colorado Works/Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF):
Colorado Works is Colorado's TANF program. Through the program, participants receive help becoming self-sufficient by strengthening their family's economic and social stability. Residents can apply for TANF as well as other benefits online through Colorado PEAK.
2-1-1 | Colorado PEAK
- Do not travel until a full 5 days after your last close contact with the person with COVID-19. It is best to avoid travel for a full 10 days after your last exposure.
- Do not travel until a full 10 days after your symptoms started or the date your positive test was taken if you had no symptoms.
- As of June 12, 2022, CDC no longer requires air passengers traveling from a foreign country to the United States to show a negative COVID-19 viral test or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before they board their flight.
- For country-specific travel requirements related to COVID-19, visit the Department of State website.
Do you have questions about COVID-19 or vaccines? Resources are available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website and we have included some of the most popular frequently asked questions below. Plus, if you have weakened immune system, additional information about how to isolate and quarantine is available.
COVID-19 Quarantine and Isolation Information
What is COVID-19
COVID-19 is a disease caused by a virus called SARS-CoV-2. Most people with COVID-19 have mild symptoms, but some people can become severely ill. Although most people with COVID-19 get better within weeks of illness, some people experience post-COVID conditions. Post-COVID conditions are a wide range of new, returning, or ongoing health problems people can experience more than four weeks after first being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. Older people and those who have certain underlying medical conditions are more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19. Vaccines against COVID-19 are safe and effective.
Are COVID-19 vaccinations safe?
COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. Millions of people in the United States have received COVID-19 vaccines. COVID-19 vaccines have undergone and continue to undergo the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history, including studies with adolescents and children.
Do vaccinations require proof of health insurance?
No. There should never be any payment for the vaccine and no health insurance coverage is required.
Where can I get vaccinated?
DDPHE has a full list of resources on where to get vaccinated, how to make an appointment, a list of vaccine clinics and how to get a free ride to and from your vaccination appointment. If you need assistance scheduling a vaccination appointment, call 1-877-CO VAX CO (1-877-268-2926).
Are vaccines safe for children and teens?
Yes. Before recommending COVID-19 vaccination for children, scientists conducted clinical trials with thousands of children to establish the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines for children.
Millions of children and teens ages 5 through 17 years have received a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Ongoing safety monitoring shows that the known risks and possible severe complications of COVID-19 outweigh the potential risks of having a rare, adverse reaction to vaccination.
Reported side effects tend to be mild, temporary, and like those experienced after routine vaccination. Serious reactions after COVID-19 vaccination in children are rare. When they are reported, serious reactions most frequently occur within a few days after vaccination.
If I need a new vaccination card, how can I get one?
The MyColorado app’s myVaccine Record feature provides secure, convenient access to your official COVID-19 vaccination record within the Colorado Immunization Information System (CIIS) so you can show proof of vaccination wherever it's required. If you need a new vaccination card, contact the vaccination provider site where you received your vaccine. Your provider should give you a new card with up-to-date information about the vaccinations you have received.