Orders based on guidance from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
October 30, 2020
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    REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – San Mateo County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow has further aligned local health orders with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) concerning COVID-19.

    The orders provide updates based on new guidance from the CDC to control the spread of COVID-19 by quarantine (for individuals exposed to the disease) and isolation (for those with the disease). The orders also contain specific rules for health care workers and first responders.

    Plain-language instructions on how to quarantine and isolate safely are also included.

    “COVID-19 can easily spread between people who are in close contact with one another,” according to Dr. Morrow. “This Order is issued based on scientific evidence and best practices as currently known and available to protect vulnerable members of the public from avoidable risk of serious illness or death resulting from exposure to COVID-19.”


    Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. Under the revised health order, individuals must self-quarantine if they are notified or are made aware they have been in close physical proximity with a person with COVID-19, as defined in the order.

    When does quarantine end? 

    If you do not live with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, your quarantine will end after 14 days as long as you have not been diagnosed with COVID-19.

    If you live with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, you will need to quarantine for 14 days after your household member no longer needs to be isolated, so long as you have not been diagnosed with COVID-19.


    Isolation keeps someone who is infected with the virus away from others, even in their home. A person with COVID-19 must immediately isolate themselves at home or another residence, follow home isolation instructions, and tell close contacts and cooperate fully with local Public Health concerning contact tracing and related investigations.

    When does isolation end?

    An individual with COVID-19 should remain in isolation for at least 10 days after they first begin to develop symptoms and at least one 1 day after recovery. Recovery is defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in symptoms associated with COVID-19.

    If an individual with COVID-19 never develops any symptoms, then the individual should remain in isolation for ten days from the date the positive test was performed.

    The order also spells out criteria for specific instances, such as an individual who is immunocompromised, lives in a congregant setting or is at risk of transmitting infection to others who are vulnerable.

    Assistance with Quarantine or Isolation

    If a person needs assistance finding a place to quarantine or isolate, they should promptly contact the County’s Emergency Operations Center Care and Shelter Branch by calling 211. Assistance with food and other essential needs may also be available.

    COVID-19 and San Mateo County

    As of Thursday, October 29, County Health has recorded 11,341 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

    The state of California on Tuesday eased certain restrictions on activities by moving the county into the “Orange” Tier 3 on the state’s color-coded, four-tier plan for reducing the spread of COVID-19. The move to fewer restrictions was due to cumulative efforts to slow the spread of the disease, and officials today warned this is no time let your guard down.

    “While we each find ways to appreciate this step towards normalcy both in our work and personal lives, I can’t emphasize enough how important it is that we remain vigilant about wearing face coverings, washing our hands frequently, practicing social distancing and taking other common-sense precautions,” County Manager Mike Callagy said today.

    “As we approach the holidays and cooler weather, it is important to know that the risks associated with gatherings outside of households are significant,” he said. “While we often gather with friends and family out of affection, this year consider showing your respect by staying safely apart.”

    The Health Orders along with home quarantine and home isolation instructions are found here: https://www.smchealth.org/health-officer-updates/orders-health-officer-quarantine-isolation