What is the difference between isolation and quarantine?

For Coronavirus (COVID-19) information, follow CDC guidance:

Isolate if you are sick.
Quarantine if you might be sick.

Isolation and quarantine are public health practices used to protect the public by preventing exposure to people who have or may have a contagious disease.

  • Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick.
  • Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. These people may have been exposed to a disease and do not know it, or they may have the disease but do not show symptoms.

Learn more about Quarantine and Isolation.

Content created by Digital Communications Division (DCD)
Content last reviewed on July 22, 2020