COVID-19 FAQs

Last updated May 4, 2022

Should I be tested for COVID-19 infection?

Those who should get tested for COVID-19 include people who:

  • Have symptoms of COVID-19
  • Have had close contact with someone with confirmed COVID-19
    • Close contact means someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person over a 24-hour period for a combined total of 15 minutes or more
  • Have taken part in activities that put them at higher risk for COVID-19 because they cannot physically distance as needed, such as travel, attending large social or mass gatherings, or being in crowded indoor settings.
  • Have been asked or referred to get tested by their healthcare provider or the Department of Health

View our self-test guidance.


Should I wear a mask?

Yes!

  • Wearing a mask with two or more layers helps protect yourself and those around you.
  • When worn over your nose and mouth, masks reduce the spread of your respiratory droplets to others.
  • You should wear a mask even if you do not feel sick.  Studies have found that people with COVID-19 who are asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic can still spread the virus to other people.  Wearing a mask protects those around you, in case you are infected but not showing symptoms. 
  • A mask is NOT a substitute for physical distancing (remaining 6 feet apart from others) but is especially important when in close contact with other people.

More information about mask wearing in Hawaii

Mask wearing information from CDC


How long do I have to isolate from others after becoming sick?

CDC has shortened the recommended time for isolation from 10 days for people with COVID-19 to 5 days, if asymptomatic, followed by 5 days of wearing a mask when around others. Everyone, regardless of vaccination status:

  • Stay home for 5 days.
  • If you have no symptoms or your symptoms are resolving after 5 days, you can leave your house.
  • Continue to wear a well-fitted mask around others for 5 additional days.
  • You may end isolation after ALL of the following are true:
    • It has been at least 5 full days since your symptoms started (or since your test date, if you had no symptoms).
    • You have had no fever for 24 hours, without taking fever-reducing medications
    • Your symptoms are improving

If you have a fever or are not yet improving, remain in isolation until all of the above are true.

View our isolation guidance.


I am a close contact of a COVID-19 case and am not up to date on vaccinations.  Why do I need to stay in quarantine for 5 days if I test negative?

A negative test means that you weren’t infected at the time the test was collected. You may still develop COVID-19.

For all those exposed, best practice would also include a test for SARS-CoV-2 at day 5 after exposure. You may use an at home test or visit a testing clinic. If you use a self-test kit, follow our self-test guidance. Find a testing site near you by using our Testing Location Finder

If symptoms occur, individuals should immediately isolate. Follow our isolation guidance

  


How can I use ventilation methods to reduce the spread of COVID-19 indoors?

In addition to physical distancing, hand washing, and mask wearing, ventilation mitigation strategies can help to reduce the concentration of viral particles in the air. The lower the concentration, the less likely that those viral particles can be inhaled into your lungs; contact your eyes, nose, and mouth; or fall out of the air to accumulate on surfaces. Protective ventilation practices and interventions can reduce the airborne concentration, which reduces the overall viral dose to occupants.

A few examples of ventilation methods you can implement:

  • Open doors and windows to increase fresh air.
  • Use fans to help bring fresh air indoors. Avoid placing fans in a way that could potentially cause contaminated air to flow directly from one person to another.
  • Ensure restroom exhaust fans are functional and operating at full capacity when the building is occupied.
  • Clean your air conditioning (HVAC) filters regularly, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Check filters to ensure they are within their service life and appropriately installed.
  • Make sure your building’s air conditioning (HVAC) system is up-to-date and cleaned regularly, according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Consider portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) fan/filtration systems to help enhance air cleaning (especially in higher risk areas such as a nurse’s office or areas frequently inhabited by persons with higher likelihood of COVID-19 and/or increased risk of getting COVID-19).

Learn how to improve ventilation in your home: Improving Ventilation in Your Home | CDC


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