What are the symptoms of COVID-19? How long should I stay home if sick?

What are the symptoms of COVID-19? How long should I stay home if sick?

What are the symptoms of COVID-19? How long should I stay home if sick?

About Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

  • According to CDC, patients with confirmed COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:
    • fever
    • cough
    • shortness of breath
  • Some patients have had other symptoms including muscle aches, headache, sore throat, or diarrhea.
  • These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.

How long should I stay home if sick?

If you have symptoms of a respiratory disease (these include fever, coughing, muscle aches, sore throat, and headache), you should stay home for at least 7 days, and for 3 days with no fever and improvement of respiratory symptoms—whichever is longer. (Your fever should be gone for 3 days without using fever-reducing medicine.)

For example, if you have a fever and coughing for 4 days, you need to stay home 3 more days with no fever for a total of 7 days. Or, if you have a fever and coughing for 5 days, you need to stay home 3 more days with no fever for a total of 8 days.

If I have symptoms, when should I see a doctor?

If you have symptoms and can manage those symptoms at home, you don't have to seek health care or be tested for COVID-19. Just stay home while you are sick. If you are older or have underlying medical conditions, it may be helpful to let your health care provider know you are sick. They may have some specific advice for you. Some people with COVID-19 have worsened during the second week of illness. If your symptoms worsen at any point, and you do need to go see a doctor, call ahead before going in.

What is the COVID-19 testing situation in Minnesota?

People who do not have symptoms should not be tested for COVID-19. Due to national shortages of lab testing supplies, we do not have an unlimited capacity for testing. We are currently prioritizing testing for people who are hospitalized and for health care workers. There may be some additional specific situations, such as congregate living, where testing is also recommended.

Where can people be tested?

Most clinics and hospitals across the state have the ability to collect samples (specimens) for lab testing. It is best to call your health care provider before going to the clinic or hospital to be tested. MDH does not directly collect samples for testing; we receive the samples from providers and do the testing in our public health laboratory. There are some commercial reference laboratories that can test. Your health care provider may conduct testing through these laboratories. If you are tested for COVID-19, the clinic that did your testing will get the results to you.

How does COVID-19 spread?

  • This virus probably originally emerged from an animal source but is now able to spread from person-to-person.
  • It’s important to note that person-to-person spread can happen on a continuum. Some viruses are highly contagious (like measles), while other viruses are less so. It’s not clear yet how easily COVID-19 spreads from person-to-person.
  • Patients who have been identified with COVID-19 in the United States have traveled to an area in China where the virus is circulating or have had contact with a known case.
  • When person-to-person spread has occurred with other coronaviruses, such as MERS and SARS, it is thought to have happened mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how flu and other respiratory diseases spread. Spread of SARS and MERS between people has generally occurred between close contacts.

Take the same precautions recommended for avoiding colds and flu:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough.