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Boreal Community Media

Cook County Adopts Updated Isolation and Quarantine Guidelines for COVID-19

Jan 14, 2022 06:37PM ● By Editor

January 14, 2022 – Cook County Public Health and Human Services (PHHS) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) have adopted updated isolation and quarantine recommendations for people who test positive for or are exposed to COVID-19. This updated guidance follows the latest recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and can be found on the County’s COVID-19 hub site at 

The updated guidance reflects an effort by the CDC to balance changing knowledge and considerations related to the Omicron variant, COVID-19 vaccines, and the economic and mental health impacts of the ongoing pandemic on society. 

People who test positive for COVID-19 should follow these updated guidelines:  

  • Stay home and isolate for at least 5 days after symptoms appear.  
  • After 5 days, if symptoms have improved AND they are fever-free for 24 hours without using fever-reducing medications they can return to work and other activities. 
  • People who continue to feel sick after 5 days should continue to stay home for a full 10 days. At that point if they are fever-free and their symptoms have improved they can return to work and other activities.  
  • If a person feels sick for more than 10 days or has a severe case, they should consult with a medical provider before returning to normal activities 
  • After isolation, all people should take additional precautions for the following five days. These include: 
    • Wearing a well-fitting mask any time you are around other people 
    • Not going to places where you can’t mask or would need to take off your mask (including pools, some gyms, and restaurants). Avoid eating around others. 
    • Not traveling 
    • Not spending time in-person with people who are at a higher risk for complications due to COVID-19. 

After being exposed to a person who is contagious for COVID-19, recommendations are divided into two categories. One set of recommendations is for those who are up to date on their COVID-19 vaccinations or have recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days (regardless of vaccination status) 

  • You do not need to quarantine 
  • Test 5 days after your exposure  
  • If at any point in the 10 days following your exposure you feel even mild symptoms, test and stay home 
  • Take additional precautions for ten days following your exposure (see above) 

The other set of recommendations includes those who are not up to date on their COVID-19 vaccination (this includes those who are not vaccinated, those who haven’t finished the primary vaccination series, and those who are eligible for a booster but are not yet boosted): 

  • Quarantine for five days and wear a mask in your household if you must be around others and are able to do so 
  • Test 5 days after your exposure 
  • If at any point in the 10 days following your exposure you feel even mild symptoms, seek a test and stay home 
  • Take additional precautions for ten days following your exposure (see above) 

Please note that those who are not up to date on their COVID-19 vaccinations and are living with a person with COVID-19 should begin to count out their 5-day quarantine the day AFTER their household member is no longer in isolation.  

Healthcare facilities, childcare, school, and other youth programs may have additional requirements for those who recently tested positive or were exposed to COVID-19. We encourage you to reach out to individual program and facility leadership for specific questions related to healthcare, childcare, school, and youth programming. 

We understand that these new guidelines are complex, particularly for people who recently tested positive or were in quarantine and received the previous guidelines. Please call Cook County Public Health at 218-387-3605 if you have questions. Please leave a detailed message and we will try our best to return your call within 24 business hours. We also ask that people who test positive with an over-the-counter test call Cook County Public Health or Grand Portage Health Services at 218-475-2235 to walk through isolation and quarantine recommendations for you and your household. We are trying our best to contact those who have tested positive in a timely manner to provide these recommendations, and are focusing our efforts on children under 18, healthcare workers and school/childcare staff in times when our capacity for follow-up is stretched. We are also updating all our education and outreach materials to reflect this new recommended guidance. 

Weekly vaccination opportunities continue to be provided for those ages 5 and older at the Cook County Community Center and through Grand Portage Health Services with registration requested. Visit or call Grand Portage Health Services at 218-475-2235 to register and to learn more about these updated isolation and quarantine guidelines.  



Grace Grinager, Cook County Public Health Supervisor, 218-387-3620, [email protected]