COVID-19 Guidance from the Arkansas Department of Health.



Quarantine is an important way to stop the spread of COVID-19. It means staying home and away from others after you have been exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19.

If you are in close contact with a person with COVID19, you need to quarantine for 14 days from the time of the exposure. Close contact, generally, means you were within 6 feet of the person for at least 15 minutes total while they were infectious. COVID-19 patients are considered infectious two days before their symptoms started, or two days before their positive test if they do not develop symptoms. All close contacts should get tested for COVID-19 by PCR test about five (5) days after the last exposure to the positive person.

If you are a close contact and you are not fully vaccinated, you need to quarantine for 14 days even if you don’t feel sick and even if you have received a negative test for COVID-19.

If you are a close contact and you are fully vaccinated, you do not have to quarantine if you do not have symptoms. If you develop symptoms, you should isolate and get tested for COVID-19.


The incubation period of the virus that causes COVID-19 is up to 14 days. Therefore, the safest quarantine period would last 14 days from the most recent exposure to the positive patient.

In accordance with new CDC guidelines, quarantine can end after 10 days without testing if no symptoms have occurred. Or, it can end after 7 days if no symptoms have occurred and a test returned a negative result. Note that the test sample must have been collected at least 5 days after exposure. Send-off PCR tests are preferred, but rapid PCR or antigen tests are acceptable.

If you are exposed again during quarantine, the period must start over again. If you develop symptoms or test positive for COVID-19 during the quarantine period, you must follow the instructions for isolating yourself.


  • Remain at home and avoid all public activities. These means do not go to work, church, school, stores (including grocery stores), nor any public events or places.
  • Do not have visitors in your home.
  • If you live in a home with other people, stay in a separate room. If that is not possible, wear a face mask when you are in the same room as others and stay at least 6 feet away from them (i.e. practice social distancing even in your home).
  • Wash your hands and use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer often. Do not share personal items such as dishes, cups, forks, spoons, towels, etc.
  • Do not leave your home except to get urgent or emergency medical care. If you need to see a doctor for reasons other than a medical emergency, please call your medical provider ahead of time to make proper arrangements.
  • In the event of a medical emergency, call 911. Tell them that you are in home quarantine due to possible COVID-19 exposure. Keep a face mask on until a health care provider asks you to remove it. If you do not have a mask, use a folded kerchief or another similar device to cover your nose and mouth.
  • Do not use any public transportation (buses, taxis, rideshare services, or airplanes).
  • Check yourself for fever twice a day. This means taking your temperature in the morning and before bed at night and writing down the reading each time. The ADH will need this information to determine when you are able to resume normal activities or if you need additional care.
  • If you begin to have symptoms such as fever, cough, or trouble breathing, or if you otherwise feel sick, contact your health care provider.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. If I have had 2 doses of COVID-19 vaccine and have close contact with a positive case, do I need to quarantine?

Vaccinated persons with exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are not required to quarantine if they meet all of the following criteria:

Are fully vaccinated (i.e., ≥2 weeks following receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series, or ≥2 weeks following receipt of one dose of a single-dose vaccine)

Have remained asymptomatic since the current COVID-19 exposure

  • If, in a classroom setting, if both the COVID positive student and the Probable close contact are wearing their masks properly, the Probable Close Contact does not have to quarantine.
  • If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 90 days, you do not have to quarantine.

Fully vaccinated persons who do not quarantine should still watch for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days following exposure. If they experience symptoms, they should be clinically evaluated for COVID-19.

Also, vaccinated persons should continue to follow current guidance to protect themselves and others, including wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet away from others, avoiding crowds, avoiding poorly ventilated spaces, covering coughs and sneezes, washing hands often, following CDC travel guidance, and following any applicable workplace or school guidance, including guidance related to personal protective equipment use or SARS-CoV-2 testing.

Additional Help:

For immediate sheltering needs for people who are homeless or displaced or cannot safely quarantine at home, please call (501) 661-2136. For all other issues, contact the ADH call center at (800) 803-7847.


  • Quarantine ends after Day 14. This is still the safest option.
  • Quarantine can end after Day 10 (i.e. return on Day 11) without testing and if no symptoms have been occurred during the quarantine period.
  • Quarantine can end after Day 7 (i.e. return on Day 8) if a close contact tests negative (“send-off” PCR tests are preferred but rapid antigen tests are acceptable) and if no symptoms occurred during the quarantine period. The specimen may be collected no sooner than 5 full days after exposure, but quarantine cannot be discontinued earlier than after Day 7. 
  • If at any time someone in quarantine as a close contact develops symptoms of COVID-19, they should immediately isolate and get tested for COVID-19 (even if they previously had a negative test during this quarantine). We emphasize that the above options only apply to those who have no symptoms. 
  • Students returning early from quarantine can resume sports practice or participation, but they should wear a face covering while participating in practice or competition until the full 14-day period is over, unless wearing it would cause a danger of injury or strangulation. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently recommended that all athletes should wear face coverings during athletics, so having those just leaving quarantine before 14 days wear face coverings is a reasonable measure to take for these close contacts who are at slightly higher risk of spreading the virus. 
  • More information is available on the CDC quarantine website