Child wearing mask with her teddy bear

Part of being prepared during the pandemic is knowing what changes to make in your home if someone who lives with you tests positive for COVID-19. You’ll need to be prepared to safely provide care for the sick person while keeping everyone else in the home protected.

Anyone who thinks they have symptoms of COVID-19 should contact a health care provider first, before going to a doctor’s office or hospital.

If a person in your home has tested positive for COVID-19, take these steps to prevent the disease from spreading to other people:

Managing your home to avoid spreading the disease

  • The person who is sick should be separated from everyone else as much as possible and, if possible, should use a separate bedroom and bathroom.
  • The patient should wear a mask when other people are nearby. If that’s not possible, anybody in the same room as the patient should wear a mask.
  • Be sure that any shared rooms have good air flow. Open a window if the weather allows it.
  • Don’t allow any visitors into your home unless they absolutely need to be there.
  • Keep pets away from the person who is sick.
  • Don’t share common household items with the patient. This includes items like dishes, cups, silverware, washcloths and towels, and sheets and pillowcases.
  • Everyone in the home should wash their hands frequently.
    • Use soap and water to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.
    • If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Everyone in the home should avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth.

Staying protected while taking care of the person who is sick

  • Anyone who has contact with any of the patient’s body fluids should wear a disposable mask and gloves.
  • Follow these steps to remove your protective gloves and mask after using them:
    • First take off the gloves and put them in a lined container for disposal. Clean your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
    • Next, remove the mask and put it in the disposal container. Clean your hands again.
  • Never reuse protective equipment like gloves and masks.

Cleaning your home and doing laundry

  • Use a household cleaning spray or disinfectant wipe to clean all surfaces that people touch frequently. Do this at least once a day. These surfaces include counters, tables, doorknobs, faucet handles, toilet handles and seats, phones, keyboards, and tablets.
  • When handling clothes or bedding that have the sick person’s body fluids on them, wear disposable gloves and hold these items out and away from your body. Be sure to wash your hands right after removing the gloves.

For more information about preparing your home for taking care of a person with COVID-19, see If You Are Sick or Caring for Someone at the Centers for Disease Control website. If you have further questions, contact your local health department or your health care provider.