Tested COVID positive or exposed to someone who has? The latest CDC quarantine guidelines

Shaquil Manigault
Rockford Register Star
A sign encouraging social distancing is posted on Aldi's grocery store in Belvidere on March 26, 2020, during the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

As cases rise across the state, health officials want to ensure residents know what they should and shouldn't do if they test positive or are exposed to the novel coronavirus. 

Here are answers to some common questions: 

What should you do if you test positive?

Winnebago County Public Health Administrator Sandra Martell's recommendation lines up with the CDC. She is advising people regardless of vaccination status to follow the "five and ten rule." 

"We need you to stay and isolate for five days after you test positive. Day zero is the date of your test, followed by five days of masking," Martell said during a Monday news conference. "Test before you come out of isolation as recommended on day five and then continue to wear a mask for five days."

The CDC also recommends ending isolation after five full days if: 

  • A person is fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication) and their symptoms are improving.
  • A person does not have any symptoms.

A longer period of isolation may be needed if:

  • A person is severely ill. They should quarantine for at least 10 days and consult with a doctor before ending isolation. 

More:City, health officials: Only 2 ICU beds available in Rockford Monday due to COVID surge

What should you do if you are exposed to COVID-19? 

Peoria City/County Health Department officials recommend people who are fully vaccinated and boosted do not need to go into quarantine, but they should still do the following: 

  • Wear a mask for 10 days any time you are around others inside your home or in public.
  • Do not go to places where you are unable to wear a mask.
  • Get tested 5 to 7 days after your exposure, even if they don't have symptoms. 
  • Watch for symptoms until 10 days after. 

People who are unvaccinated or only partially vaccinated should follow the same instructions as those who have tested positive. 

Where can I get tested?

There are a variety of testing sites throughout Illinois. For a complete list, visit

Home tests have also become increasingly popular as well, according to Martell. "There was an estimate where there were 80,000 test kits sold over the holidays for at-home testing," Martell said. 

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Here is a list of symptoms, provided by the Illinois Department of Public Health: 

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

A person should seek immediate medical attention if they experience any of the following: 

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay or stay awake
  • Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone

More:Loves Park Crusader Health clinic temporarily closing due to COVID-19 staffing issues

What is contact tracing? 

Contact tracing is intended to let people know they may have been exposed to an infectious agent and what to do next for their own health and the health of others, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Martell says residents can expect to start getting text messages from the state's centralized system. 

"It's been published: 312-777-1999. If you get a text message from this, please opt-in," Martell said. "If you need a letter to return to work or school, this is where you'll be getting it from." 

What should a local business do if someone on their staff test positive or is exposed to COVID-19?

Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara empathized with small businesses during a Monday news conference, admitting that the pandemic has been "incredibly trying," but emphasized the role that businesses play in helping to stop the spread of the virus. 

"Provide your staff paid time off to go get tested. Make sure that you are allowing them time off when they're sick, so that they're not feeling that they need to be forced to come into work while they were sick infecting other employees and customers," McNamara said. 

Rockford is encouraging local businesses to contact the city if they need help during the pandemic. 

"Reach out the city, we would look favorably on assisting businesses who are negatively impacted by COVID," McNamara said.

Where can someone go to get the vaccine? 

The Illinois Department of Public Health is directing residents to to find vaccination sites in their area.

Shaquil Manigault:; @RRstarShaquil