Quarantine is used to  keep someone who  might t have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others since it is possible to be contagious even before someone develops symptoms. Someone in quarantine stays in their home, place of residence or other designated facility since it is possible to be contagious, even before someone develops symptoms. 

Isolation is used to  separate sick people from healthy people. This term refers to someone known or presumed by a medical professional to have COVID-19. Someone in isolation is staying in their home, place of residence or other designated facility due to illness. 

Close contact  is defined by the CDC as being within approximately 6 feet (2 meters) of a person known or presumed by a medical professional to have COVID-19 for 15 minutes or longer, with or without a face covering, or having direct contact with infectious secretions of someone known or presumed to be COVID-19 positive. 

What happens if I test positive for COVID-19?

Students who live on campus will be moved into University-supported isolation housing or have the option to return to their permanent residence to isolate there. Students living off campus who test positive, including graduate and professional students, will be contacted by Student Health Services to discuss their isolation requirements and options. Students living off-campus may be offered the option of moving into University-supported isolation housing.

A dedicated care team will support those students living in University-supported isolation housing. They will have daily check-ins with medical professionals and a support team, meals delivered and other resources available.

What to expect in isolation and quarantine »

How long do I have to stay in isolation?

This will vary from person to person depending on the duration of symptoms, generally though the length of time is from 10 to 14 days. Student Health Service will monitor your recovery – regardless of where you are isolating -- and release you from isolation when it is medically safe to do so.

What happens if I’m a close contact of someone who has COVID-19?

Whenever someone tests positive for COVID-19, our contact tracers will reach out to their close contacts to instruct them on next steps. Typically, you will need to quarantine and monitor your health for 14 days. If you do not develop symptoms, have completed the health attestation daily and have tested negative for COVID-19 on day seven or later, your quarantine period may be shortened to 10 days.

What happens if contact tracers outside of the University tell me I need to quarantine, or a close contact not affiliated with Pitt tells me they tested positive for COVID-19?

In these cases, people should begin quarantining. Students should call Student Health Service at their campus, and staff and faculty should call MyHealth@Work at 412-647-4949 to help keep the University informed. You will be asked about any symptoms you may be experiencing, connected with Pitt's contact tracing team, provided with information on taking a COVID-19 test and instructed on the appropriate next steps for your case.

Where do I go for quarantine?

Most students living on campus will quarantine within their residence hall room or suite. In some cases, students may quarantine elsewhere if quarantining in their residence hall is not advised. Meals will be delivered, and students will track their health using the Daily COVID-19 Health Check App. Students living off campus will typically quarantine in their off-campus housing. Students may also choose to quarantine in their permanent residence.

Will I be tested if I’m in quarantine?

Yes. The CDC recommends testing all close contacts. If you are in quarantine due to possible exposure to someone with the virus, you will be encouraged to get tested. You will also use the Daily COVID-19 Health Check app to log your symptoms daily while in quarantine. 

What should I do if I begin experiencing symptoms of COVID-19?

Call Student Health Service at 412-383-1800.


If you have more questions about quarantine and isolation, please contact the COVID-19 Medical Response Office