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Features

I've been exposed to COVID-19, now what?

Edward-Elmhurst Health answers that question - and more

With the positivity rate rising across Illinois, Edward-Elmhurst Health offers a checklist to determine if you might be infected with COVID-19 and how to slow the spread.
With the positivity rate rising across Illinois, Edward-Elmhurst Health offers a checklist to determine if you might be infected with COVID-19 and how to slow the spread.

With the positivity rate rising across Illinois, Edward-Elmhurst Health offers a checklist to determine if you might be infected with COVID-19 and how to slow the spread.

Someone I was with last weekend told me they are positive. What do I do?

First, determine whether there was close contact with the person who tested positive.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises people who were in “close contact” with a COVID-19 positive person to stay home and self-quarantine for 14 days from the date of last contact.

The CDC considers “close contact” as:

You were within 6 feet of an infected person for a total of 15 minutes or more.

You provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19.

You had direct physical contact with the person (hugged or kissed them).

You shared eating or drinking utensils.

They sneezed, coughed or somehow got respiratory droplets on you.

Until you know for certain, stay away from other people if possible, especially high-risk individuals, such as older adults and people with other medical conditions.

Should I get a COVID-19 test?

If a close contact or family member has tested positive, you should get tested, even if there are no symptoms. Research shows asymptomatic people can still spread SARS-CoV-2.

But don’t get a test immediately — testing too soon could result in a false negative.

Because symptoms generally don’t appear until five days after infection, begin self-quarantine.

Get tested five days after the last date of contact with the COVID-19-positive person.

What do I do while I’m waiting for a COVID-19 test result?

Someone who is waiting for a COVID-19 test result, should stay home and away from others, as infected people can spread COVID-19 starting from two days before they experience any symptoms.

Those who have been exposed to an infected person should also tell people they had recently been around that test results are pending, and that they should monitor their health.

If I test positive, how long will it be before I develop symptoms?

It could take 2 to 14 days for someone infected with SARS-CoV-2 to develop symptoms.

Some people never develop symptoms or only experience mild symptoms.

Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, new loss of taste or smell, or other symptoms of COVID-19.

If my COVID-19 test is negative, can I go back to normal activities?

If the test is negative, still stay home and away from others (self-quarantine) for 14 days after the last exposure to COVID-19.

A negative result before the end of the quarantine period does not rule out possible infection.

If symptoms develop, a second test may be needed.

What symptoms would I experience if I have COVID-19?

COVID-19 symptoms can range from mild to severe and may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus.

The following symptoms are associated with COVID-19:

Fever or chills

Cough

Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing

Fatigue

Muscle or body aches

Headache

• New loss of taste or smell

• Sore throat

• Congestion or runny nose

• Nausea or vomiting

• Diarrhea

For more information, visit eehealth.org/coronavirus.

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