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COVID cases increase in Plumas — what to do if you test positive or are exposed

COVID cases in Plumas County are once again on the uptick. According to the latest numbers released today by the Public Health Agency, 19 new cases were reported during the past 7 days, which is an increase from the 10 reported last week. (Note: there is a seven-day lag time in the data.)

The numbers are likely to increase because now that school is in session, any positive cases associated with a student or staff member must be reported to the California Department of Public Health — whether it’s an at-home antigen test or a PCR test — and thus will be reflected in the county’s numbers. Public Health typically doesn’t track at-home tests, but does when it’s reported through the schools.

UPDATE: After this article was posted, Plumas Unified School District shared that it has been notified of five positive cases – four at Quincy High School and one at the Pioneer campus of Quincy Elementary School.

As the virus has evolved over the past two and a half years, so has the guidance. So what do you do if you test positive? Or are exposed? Following is the latest guidance from the California Department of Public Health:


If you have tested positive or have symptoms of COVID-19, you should isolate (stay home and away from other people) to prevent spreading the disease to your family, friends, co-workers customers, and community. Even if you are vaccinated or had COVID-19 before, you should isolate for at least 5 full days. Day 1 is the day after symptoms start (or after the day of your first positive test, only if you never have symptoms). Count from Day 1 and test on Day 5 (or later), to see if you can end isolation after Day 5.

You may end isolation AFTER Day 5 (that is, Day 6 or later) IF:

  • You take a test on Day 5 (or later) and receive a negative result (antigen test preferred); AND
  • You have not had a fever for 24 hours without taking fever-reducing medication; AND
  • Any other symptoms are improving (or you have no symptoms).
Use the Isolation Calculator to help you determine how long you should isolate.

It is strongly recommended that you wear a well-fitting mask around others, especially indoors (even at home) and around those at higher risk for severe COVID-19 illness, for a total of 10 days, even if you end isolation earlier. Learn more about masking and get masking tips for children (PDF).

Situations where you should isolate longer than 5 days:

  • If you test positive on Day 5 (or later), if you do not get tested during isolation, or if you have symptoms that are not improving:  you should remain in isolation until you test negative with no fever and symptoms improving OR until you complete 10 full days of isolation.
  • If you have a fever, you should not end isolation, even after 10 days, until the fever has been gone for 24 hours (without using medicine that reduces fevers).

NOTE: People who are immunocompromised may continue to carry the virus and remain infectious longer than 10 days. If your symptoms worsen or fever continues, you should consult your healthcare provider.

Stay in a separate room away from other people in your household to keep them safe and prevent them from getting ill. Do not attend work or school in person; do not travel (PDF), do not use public transportation, and do not go to the store or other public places. But DO stay in touch with friends and family through phone calls, texts, and the internet. For more details about how to isolate, read the CDPH Self-Isolation Fact Sheet (PDF).

Inform your contacts

You can be infected and able to spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not have symptoms, so it is recommended that you notify people who you may have exposed as soon as you test positive so they can take steps to protect themselves and others. You are likely to be infectious starting 2 days before your positive test (or 2 days before your symptoms started) until you are done with isolation.  Read the Isolation and Quarantine Q&A to learn more about calculating your infectious period.

If you have been onsite at work or school while you were infectious, be sure to inform these locations as soon as possible, and provide them with the dates you were onsite while infectious.

Notify any close contacts who you may have exposed. You can do this by calling, texting, or emailing them, or you can notify them anonymously through the Tell Your Contacts website. They can visit What to Do if You Are Exposed to COVID-19 to learn more about what actions they should take to protect themselves and others.

Even if you inform all of the close contacts you know about, it is still important to inform CA Notify of your positive test, if you have this Exposure Notification tool activated on your cellphone. CA Notify will be able to anonymously inform those people you may have exposed but may not be aware of.

Learn more about contact tracing on the CDPH What is Contact Tracing webpage, and if you receive a text from the Virtual Assistant (23393) and have questions, read the Virtual Assistant Q&A.

What to do if you are exposed

If you have just learned of a possible exposure to COVID-19, then someone you have been in close contact with has tested positive. They may have been able to spread the disease to you and others. Being exposed does not mean that you have COVID-19 or will get COVID-19. It DOES mean you should take steps to protect yourself and those around you in case you have been infected.

  • Test 3–5* days following your exposure. If your test result is positive, follow isolationrecommendations.
    • Consider testing as soon as possible (especially if you have symptoms) to see if you are already infected; but if you test before day 3, you should test again during the 3–5 days following exposure.
    • If you had COVID-19 before and that infection was within the last 90 days, you do not need to test unless you have symptoms.
  • Wear a well-fitting mask around others (even at home) for 10 days* following your exposure, even if your test result is negative, especially indoors and when near those at higher risk for severe COVID-19 disease.
  • Monitor yourself for COVID-19 symptoms for 10 days. If symptoms develop, stay home and get tested.
  • Consider getting vaccinated or boosted if you have not done so yet. The best way to protect yourself from getting very sick from a future COVID-19 infection is to get vaccinated and boosted now.
Use the Isolation and Quarantine Calculator to determine if and when you should quarantine, isolate or test.

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