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COVID-19 Testing and What to Do if You Test Positive

COVID-19 Testing and Information

Individuals who are symptomatic with a respiratory illness or COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider regarding testing and/or treatment. COVID-19 testing can also be helpful even when someone does not have symptoms or a recent exposure, such as before an event or visiting someone at higher risk.

What do I do if I test positive for COVID-19 or have symptoms of a respiratory virus?

If you have new symptoms of a respiratory virus, such as a fever, sore throat, cough or a runny or stuffy nose, you should stay home and stay away from others in your household.

While you are staying at home:

  • Get tested for COVID-19 and flu. Talk to your healthcare provider about getting treatment if you test positive.
  • Stay away from others in your household. Wear a mask when you have to be around them.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Use a tissue or your inner elbow, not your hands.
  • Clean high-touch surfaces (such as countertops, handrails, and doorknobs) often.

You should stay home even if you don’t know what virus is making you sick.

When you start to feel better:

You may begin to resume normal activities with precautions if:

  1. You have not had a fever for at least 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medicines; AND
  2. Your other symptoms are improving

You may still be able to spread the virus that made you sick, even if you are feeling better.

For at least the first 5 days after you resume normal activities, take these extra precautions:

  • Avoid crowded indoor spaces. Wear a mask anytime you are indoors around other people
  • Wash your hands often
  • Avoid spending time with people who are at increased risk for severe disease

What to Expect and When to Call

Most people with COVID-19 experience symptoms that are not too severe. Treatments are available and recommended for people who have medical conditions that may put them at increased risk for severe disease. You should reach out to your healthcare provider if you have a condition that puts you at increased risk.

You should start to improve over the next several days, but monitor yourself and reach out to us should you develop:

  • Shortness of breath
  • A fast heart rate
  • Ongoing or persistent chest or abdominal pain
  • Persistent high fevers
  • Confusion
  • Trouble eating and drinking


A negative test result means that the virus that causes COVID-19 was not detected at that time. If a person has symptoms at the time of taking the test, this does not entirely exclude a COVID-19 infection.

If you have been exposed to COVID-19 or have symptoms but received a negative test result, we recommend repeating testing, either with a second, at-home test or a laboratory-based (PCR) test. It is recommended to repeat testing, ideally within 2-3 days of the first test.