Sick or Exposed to COVID-19

Things to Know

Symptoms and Risk

If you’re experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms, you may feel like you need to get tested for COVID-19, or coronavirus, to ease your mind. People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness.

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms or combinations of symptoms may have COVID-19: 

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Check the CDC website for the latest list of symptoms associated with COVID-19.

Adults over age 65 and people of any age with underlying health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease are at higher risk of serious illness due to COVID-19.

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What to Do When Sick

If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you should stay isolated at home to help prevent the disease from spreading to other people in your home and community. 

How Long Should I Stay Isolated?

It can be confusing to know how long you should isolate. The CDC has an isolation calculator to help you know when it's safe to be around others after being sick with COVID-19. 

The length of time you should isolate at home depends on several factors if you:

  • Were tested for COVID-19 and the test result;
  • Have any symptoms consistent with COVID-19; and
  • Are able to wear a mask.

Click on the button below to use the CDC's Isolation and Exposure Calculator:

How long should I isolate?

For questions specific to your specific health or health conditions you have, we encourage you to reach out to your healthcare provider.

Recovery and Monitoring Symptoms

Most people who are mildly ill with COVID-19 fully recover at home with plenty of rest and lots of fluids. Over-the-counter medicines may help with symptoms; check with your healthcare provider about the best care plan for you. 

Medical Outpatient Treatment

If you are higher risk for severe illness or hospitalization due to an underlying health condition(s) or are immunocompromised, your healthcare provider may recommend that you receive treatment to prevent your condition from worsening. Contact a health professional right away after a positive test to determine if you may be eligible due to your higher-risk status or underlying condition, even if your symptoms are mild right now. Treatment must be started within the first few days to be effective.

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When to Seek Medical Attention

If you feel like your symptoms are worsening, especially if you have difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider or seek medical attention.

In adults, emergency warning signs include*:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

    * This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your symptoms and any recent travel. This will help them prepare for your arrival so that they can take steps to reduce symptom exposure to themselves and other patients.

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Exposure to Someone with COVID-19

If you are a household member or a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you should take precautions like masking and getting tested.

What is Close Contact?

Close contact is being within 6 feet of the sick person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. Exposure starts from 2 days before the person had symptoms of illness (or, for people without symptoms, 2 days prior to being tested) until the time the patient is isolated. 

A cumulative total means all individual exposures added together over a 24-hour period (e.g., three 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes).

What do I need to do?

It can be confusing to know what you should do after being exposed to someone with COVID-19. The CDC created a tool to help guide your next steps.

Which precautions you should take depends on if you:

  • Were a close contact of someone with COVID-19;
  • Have had COVID-19 in the last 90 days and recovered;
  • Are able to wear a mask.

Click on the button to use the CDC's Isolation and Exposure calculator that will help determine what you should do:

What should I do if exposed?

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Testing and Follow-up Care

Diagnostic testing for COVID-19 is widely available. You can get tested whether you are currently experiencing symptoms or are concerned you were exposed to someone with the virus, even if you have no symptoms of illness. Visit our community testing page to locate testing in your area or call 602-506-6767 for more information about testing options and availability.

If you do not have a medical home or are uninsured, consider visiting a community health center if you need medical help. They will work with you to help you get access to a healthcare provider. Please call 602-253-0090 (AACHC) or look at the AACHC website, ADHS website, or 211 Arizona for a health care center near you.

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Caring for Someone with COVID-19

Most people who get sick with COVID-19 will have only mild illness and recover at home with plenty of rest and lots of fluids. Care at home can help stop the spread of COVID-19 and help protect people who are at risk for getting seriously ill from COVID-19. 

Adults over 65 and people of any age with certain serious underlying medical conditions like lung disease, heart disease, or diabetes are at higher risk for developing severe disease from COVID-19 illness and should seek medical care as soon as symptoms start.

If you are caring for someone at home, monitor for emergency signs of worsening health, help prevent the spread of germs, provide symptom care, and understand time frames for when to end home isolation. Keep their healthcare provider’s contact information in a visible place for easy reference.

What should I look for when monitoring their symptoms?

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fatigue, muscle or body aches, fever, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, cough, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. Call their healthcare provider if the person you’re caring for seems to be worse, especially if showing any of these emergency warning signs:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

For medical emergencies, call 911 and notify the dispatch personnel that they have or are suspected to have COVID-19. This will help the first responders and hospital personnel take steps to protect themselves from infection.

How can I prevent the virus from spreading in the home to others?

Have the person stay in one room, away from other people, including yourself, as much as possible. If possible, have them use a separate bathroom. In addition:

  • Avoid sharing personal household items, like dishes, towels, and bedding
  • If able, have the sick person wear a facemask when they are around people, including you.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after interacting with the sick person.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Avoid having any unnecessary visitors.
  • Limit contact with pets & animals. You should restrict the sick person’s contact with pets and other animals, just like you would around other people. See CDC: COVID-19 and Animals for more information.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect all surfaces that are touched often, like counters, tabletops, sink handles, and doorknobs.

How can I help them treat their symptoms?

Most cases of COVID-19 are mild and people recover at home within a few days to a week. Make sure the sick person drinks a lot of fluids to stay hydrated and rests at home. Over-the-counter medicines may help with symptoms. Check with their healthcare provider if you have questions about the best course of care, including any additional treatment options they may be eligible to receive. 

Still Have Questions?

You can reach us for assistance using any of the options below:

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