Important FAQs on being a “close contact,” testing, and quarantine vs. isolation
We’ve included some important FAQs below that explain what it means to be a “close contact” and how testing impacts whether someone needs to quarantine or isolate. As always, you can call the COVID-19 hotline at 262-472-1362 or email email@example.com with any questions.
How do I know if I’m a close contact of someone with COVID-19?
If you meet any one of these criteria, you are a close contact:
- direct physical contact with an infected person (hug, kiss, handshake)
- within six feet of the person for more than 15 minutes, even if wearing a face covering
- coughed/sneezed on by infected person, contact with dirty tissue, sharing a drinking glass, food or towels or other personal items
- overnight stay in a household with the person
What happens if I’m a close contact?
You must quarantine for 14 days from the last day you were with the person who is COVID-19 positive. This is mandated by UW-Whitewater per instructions from the CDC.
What’s the difference between quarantine and isolation?
Quarantine keeps someone who might have been exposed to the virus away from others; you may be in quarantine because you are waiting for your test result or you were a contact of someone who tested positive.
A person in isolation has tested positive for COVID-19. Isolation keeps someone who is infected with the virus away from others, even in their home.
What if I’m a close contact, but I test negative for COVID-19?
If during your quarantine, you get tested for COVID-19 and the results are negative, you still need to complete the full 14 days of quarantine. There is no test that will get you out of quarantining. This is mandated by UW-Whitewater per instructions from the CDC and Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
What if I’m a close contact, and I test positive for COVID-19?
If during your quarantine, you get tested for COVID-19 and the results are positive, you start isolation from the date of your test or when symptoms started for 10 days. Even if you get another test, regardless of its results, you still need to complete the 10 days of isolation. This is mandated by UW-Whitewater per instructions from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
What should I do if my roommate/housemate is a close contact?
If your roommate or housemate is a close contact, that roommate needs to quarantine for 14 days since the last date of exposure from the positive person. UW-Whitewater does not allow students to quarantine inside the residence halls (except Clem Hall, which has been designated for quarantine/isolation). On-campus students need to go home or move to Clem Hall. You as the roommate would NOT need to quarantine. If your roommate would test positive, then you are considered a close contact and you would have to start quarantining.