What To Do if You Are Sick or Test Positive for COVID-19?
If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or develop symptoms of COVID-19 after you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, please follow the steps below to help prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home and community. Exceptions to this include Healthcare workers, school aged children, daycares and people with weakened immune systems.
If you were exposed recently to a confirmed case and unsure of your status, please view Resource Assistance.
- Isolate yourself from other people and animals and stay home for 5 days, except to get urgent medical care.
- If you have no symptoms or your symptoms are resolving after 5 days, you can leave your house. If you have a fever 5 days after testing positive or developing symptoms, continue to isolate until your fever resolves.
- Continue to wear a well fitted mask around others for 5 additional days when around others, including in the home.
You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting needed medical care. Do not go to work, school, or public areas. While at home, as much as possible, you should stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home or wear a mask around them during this isolation. Also, you should use a separate bathroom, if available. Additional guidance for persons who are helping to take care of you at home is available.
Animals: Do not handle pets or other animals while sick or if you have tested positive for COVID-19. See COVID-19 and Animals for more information.
Avoid using public transportation, ridesharing, or taxis. Seek medical attention as soon as possible if your illness is worsening or if you are at high risk for severe illness or complications; monoclonal antibody therapy or an oral medication may be a treatment option for you. You can find locations offering these therapies and medications on the COVID-19 Outpatient Therapy Locator or call 1-800-889-3931. Before seeking care, call your health care provider and tell them that you have, or are being evaluated for, COVID-19. Put on a facemask before you enter the facility. These steps will help the health care provider’s office to keep other people in the office or waiting room from getting infected or exposed.
If you need assistance with housing/hoteling options or for basic needs like groceries, please see Resource Assistance.
Think through your activities 2 days before you tested or started to have symptoms and make a list of all you have had close contact with.
A close contact is someone who came within 6 feet of you for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. These include your family members.
People who are have received their COVID-19 booster vaccine or are less than 6 months from receiving their second dose of Moderna vaccine, five months from receiving their second dose of Pfizer vaccine, (or less than two months from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine), along with people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 within the last 90 days, do NOT need to quarantine after contact with someone who had COVID-19 unless they have symptoms. However, they should get tested 5 days after their exposure, if possible, even if they don’t have symptoms and wear a mask around others for 10 days following the last day of their exposure. If they do develop any symptoms, they should isolate from others and get tested immediately. Additional information for your close contacts on quarantine instructions can be found here.
Self-notify all your close contacts
You can send a simple message such as “I recently tested positive for COVID-19, its important you monitor your symptoms and get tested too. Avoid crowded places and wear your mask.” Please inform your contacts that they can call 312-777-1999 and refer them to https://dph.illinois.gov/covid19/community-guidance/quarantine-guidance.html for additional information.
Monitor your symptoms
Take care of yourself. Get rest and stay hydrated. You can take over-the-counter medicines such as acetaminophen to help you feel better.
If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Other symptoms may include chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and new loss of taste or smell. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. If you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, and are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, you should contact your doctor to see if you need to be tested. Learn more about COVID-19 illness and other symptoms here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html.
To help you isolate properly, Resource assistance is available to you locally or through a regional pandemic health navigator program if you need resources to help you remain at home. Common resource needs include help coordinating food or household item deliveries, help with rental assistance applications, etc. during your isolation at home. Please respond to text from IDPH COVID and your public health worker to learn more about resources available to you, or call 312-777-1999/phone your local health department directly. More information about the pandemic health navigator program can be found here: https://www.helpguidethrive.org/
If you have been exposed to a person with COVID-19 but have not been tested
- Get tested and follow quarantine instructions that will be specific to your COVID-19 vaccination history and history of prior COVID-19 diagnosis within the past 90 days. Public health workers can help walk you through the process based on the most updated protocols.
Other Useful Information
Wear a well fitted covering over your nose and mouth
You should wear a two layered cloth face covering or disposable mask, over your nose and mouth if you must be around other people or animals, including pets (even at home). It is very important that you wear the right type of mask. Information on the right type of masks can be found here. You don’t need to wear the cloth face covering if you are alone. If you can’t put on a cloth face covering (because of trouble breathing, for example), cover your coughs and sneezes in some other way. Try to stay at least 6 feet away from other people. This will help protect the people around you. Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2 years, anyone who has trouble breathing, or anyone who is not able to remove the covering without help.
Cover your coughs and sneezes
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw used tissues in a lined trash can; immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry. Soap and water is preferred if hands are visibly dirty.
Avoid sharing personal household items
You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets in your home. After using these items, they should be washed thoroughly with soap and water.
Clean your hands often
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry. Soap and water are preferred if hands are visibly dirty. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Clean all “high-touch” surfaces every day
High touch surfaces include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables. Also, clean any surfaces that may have blood, stool, or body fluids on them. Use a household cleaning spray or wipe, according to the label instructions. Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product including precautions you should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product. See Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations for more information.
If you experience any of the following warning signs, seek immediate medical care
- 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 you need immediate medical attention
If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the dispatch personnel that you have, or may have, COVID-19. If possible, put on a facemask before emergency medical services arrive.
Discontinuing home isolation
Additional information for your household members, intimate partners, and caregivers is available at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/care-for-someone.html