What to Do if You Were Exposed to COVID-19?

August 8, 2023

The Center for Disease Control has published these guidelines and procedures for being exposed to COVID-19. If you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you do not need to quarantine as long as you remain asymptomatic, regardless of your vaccine status. You must wear a mask any time you are around others inside your house or indoors in public for the 10 days following your exposure, unless you are unable to mask.

If you were exposed and develop symptoms at any time, isolate and take a test and stay home until you know the result. If the result is positive, follow isolation protocols. If your test is negative or if you have remained asymptomatic, take a test on day 6.

About Being Exposed to COVID-19:

-If you have tested positive or are showing symptoms of COVID-19, isolate immediately.

After Being Exposed to COVID-19:

Wear a mask as soon as you find out you were exposed. Start counting from Day 1. Day 0 is the day of your last exposure to someone with COVID-19. Day 1 is the first full day after your last exposure.

-Continue taking precautions for 10 full days. You can still develop COVID-19 up to 10 days after you have been exposed.

-Take precautions and wear a high- quality mask any time you are around others inside your home or indoors in public.

-Take extra precautions if you will be around people who are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19.

-Watch for symptoms: fever (100.0 degrees F or greater), cough, shortness of breath

-If you develop symptoms: isolate immediately, get tested, and stay at home until you know the results.

-If your test result is positive, follow the isolation recommendations.

-Get tested on Day 6- Get tested at least 5 full days after your last exposure. Test even if you don’t develop any symptoms.

-If you test negative, continue taking precautions through day 10.

Public Health Emergency Ends

As the state Public Health Emergency ends on May 11, 2023 and COVID-19 prevalence across Massachusetts is no longer high, the Department of Public Health’s (DPH) Public Health Emergency Order directing universal facemask use for all individuals, including healthcare personnel (HCP) in health care settings will also terminate.


If you feel sickly, please only use the ER for emergencies, this would include symptoms such as: 

  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Severe injury, and the like. 

If you believe you have contacted COVID, talk to your primary care physician or Urgent Care first. At this time of year, hospitals are often near capacity for reasons other than COVID. Unnecessarily going to the ER can overload critical parts of our health care system.

An early symptom of a COVID infection is a fever and other mild symptoms. For the majority, these symptoms will resolve smoothly at home, perhaps using the normal treatments for the common cold and flu.

However, those with severe symptoms need to seek medical attention. 

These severe symptoms include:

  • Significant difficulty breathing
  • Confusion, disorientation
  • Bluish discoloration; more or less so depending on your skin color

People with risk factors for severe disease (the elderly, especially those used to feeling short of breath, e.g. with asthma, COPD, or the immunocompromised) need to be more vigilant - call your doctor.

For all, the best advice is to get fully vaccinated (and boosted if eligible), wear a mask and limit indoor exposures to large gatherings.


October 19, 2022

Although we are all weary from the coronavirus pandemic, evidence shows that the dangers of the virus are still among us. The amount of virus detected in our wastewater, as well as a spike in the number of COVID cases reported locally, are causes for increased caution.

Colder temperatures and celebrations with family and friends have brought us together indoors and with people who may or may not be vaccinated. We can still enjoy the season and our families, but for everyone's safety please remain cautious.

The Gloucester Board of Health continues to ask all of you to follow these basic recommendations:

  • First, everyone, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, should increase their awareness - meet outside if you can, consider wearing a mask in close indoor spaces.
  • Second, and most important, if you haven’t already, please get vaccinated and if you are eligible, please be sure to get a booster vaccination. Vaccination against COVID is the most effective way to prevent suffering the worst effects of the virus and in preventing hospitalization and death.

Vaccination is for your safety, helps to protect your family, friends and everyone you meet.

To find out where you can get vaccinated and protect yourself from the COVID-19 virus, please go to the State Department of Public Health’s vaccine finder website at: