Positive for COVID-19? Here's what to do next.
What to do if you test positive for COVID-19
The first thing you should do if you test positive for COVID-19 is stay home. While home, you should keep track of your symptoms, get rest and stay hydrated. Ask your health care provider about pain or fever medication, and follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance for at-home care: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/.
When tracking your symptoms (fever, cough, or shortness of breath), determine whether your symptoms are getting better or worse. If you think your symptoms are worse than a common cold or mild flu, call your healthcare provider or nearby emergency room. Based on what you report, you may be advised to leave your home to seek medical care.
COVID-19 and your household
If you share a home with others, it’s important that you don’t also share COVID-19. Stay away from others and isolate in a separate room. Ideally, you would also use a separate bathroom that others in your household would not use while you are sick. Everyone in your home should practice good hand and face hygiene. This means:
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with your inside elbow and a tissue. Throw the tissue away after it’s been used.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water.
- Don’t touch your face.
- Wear a facemask when taking care of someone who is sick.
- Don’t share personal things and household items.
- Clean all “high-touch” surfaces – door knobs, counters, refrigerator handles, etc. – every day.
In addition, the CDC recently changed its guidelines for those who are exposed to COVID-19. If you were exposed and are not up-to-date with a COVID-19 vaccine, you should:
- Stay home and quarantine for at least 5 days, with Day 1 being the first full day after you were exposed.
- Avoid traveling.
- Get tested at least 5 days after you were exposed.
- After quarantining, wear a mask when around others for an additional 5 days, continue to avoid traveling, and watch for symptoms. If symptoms develop, avoid being around others, get tested and continue to stay home until you know the results.
If you were exposed and are up-to-date with a COVID-19 vaccine, you do not have to quarantine unless symptoms develop, according to the CDC. The CDC recommends getting tested after 5 days, while also continuing to watch for symptoms and wearing a mask for 10 days after exposure.
Additional cleaning precautions when someone has COVID-19
For more information on cleaning procedures when someone at home is sick with COVID-19, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/disinfecting-your-home.html.