Young woman holds up hand to elderly woman through glass doorWith the Omicron variant driving COVID-19 transmissions and confusion over quarantine and isolation, county health directors in the Finger Lakes region are reiterating the current guidelines. They also are letting residents know how to get quarantine and isolation order documents online.

Following are the current New York state guidelines:

Isolation - for people who are sick or have a positive COVID test

·       Isolate for five days following the first day of symptoms, or – if asymptomatic – isolate for five days following the day of collection of the first positive test.

·       Isolating means staying in a separate room from other household members, using a separate bathroom, taking steps to improve ventilation at home, and avoiding contact with other members of the household and pets.

·       If asymptomatic at the end of five days or if symptoms are resolving, isolation ends and the individual must wear a well-fitting mask while around others for an additional five days.


Quarantine - for people in close contact with someone who has COVID

·       If not fully vaccinated, or fully vaccinated and eligible for a booster but not yet boosted, quarantine for five days and wear a well-fitting mask while around others for an additional five days.

·       If fully vaccinated and boosted (with the booster at least two weeks before the first date of exposure) or not yet eligible for a booster, no quarantine is required but individuals must wear a well-fitting mask while around others for 10 days after the last date of exposure.

·       Quarantine is not required for those people ages 12 or older who have received all recommended vaccine doses, including boosters and additional primary shots for some immunocompromised people, or for 5- to 11-year-olds who have completed the primary COVID-19 vaccine series.

State law provides guaranteed job protection and paid leave for New York employees who are unable to work while subject to a COVID-19 precautionary or mandatory order of quarantine. Residents who test positive for COVID-19 or who come in contact with others with COVID need to obtain public health directors’ orders for isolation and quarantine.

More information and documentation are available on the following county websites:

·       Chemung:

·       Genesee and Orleans:

·       Livingston:

·       Ontario:

·       Schuyler:

·       Seneca:

·       Steuben:

·       Wayne:

·       Yates:

“There is some confusion about the most recent COVID-19 guidelines,” said Michele Foster, executive director, S2AY Rural Health Network. “It is important for everyone to know and to follow the guidelines, especially those at higher risk of hospitalization or death due to COVID, such as individuals with underlying conditions like hypertension and diabetes.”

Foster added that the best protection against COVID-19 is for residents to get vaccinated and boosted.

For more information, please visit the Finger Lakes COVID-19 Vaccine Hub.