Published on September 29, 2021

Positive for COVID-19: Now What?

sick man sitting on bed wearing mask

You just got the dreaded news: you tested positive for COVID-19. Now what?

See a health care provider within 24-48 hours and stay in contact with them during your illness.

Avoid spreading the virus to others:

  • Stay home. Most people with COVID-19 have mild illness and can recover at home.
  • Do not leave your home, except to get medical care. Do not visit public areas.
  • Stay away from other people and pets in your home.
  • Tell your close contacts that they may have been exposed to COVID-19.
  • Wash your hands often.

Take care of yourself:

  • Get rest and drink plenty of fluids.
  • Take over-the-counter medicines, such as acetaminophen to help with aches and fever.
  • Practice deep breathing and walking.
  • Do not lie flat on your back for long periods.
  • Lay on your stomach 30-120 minutes two to three times per day to help improve outcomes and avoid breathing complications.

Watch for symptoms:

People with COVID-19 have a wide range of symptoms ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus. This list does not include all the possible symptoms:

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

Seek emergency medical attention for:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Pale, gray or blue-colored skin, lips or nail beds, depending on skin tone

If your test is negative:

Even with a negative COVID-19 test, you may still have COVID-19. Sometimes it may just be too early to turn the test positive. If you develop symptoms or your symptoms persist or worsen, please get re-tested within a few days.

You just got the dreaded news: you tested positive for COVID-19. Now what?