Sick or Exposed to COVID-19

Things to Know

Symptoms and Risk


If you’re experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms, you may feel like you need to get tested for COVID-19, or coronavirus, to ease your mind. People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness.

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms or combinations of symptoms may have COVID-19: 

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

Check the CDC website for the latest list of symptoms associated with COVID-19.

You can check your symptoms using the CDC Coronavirus Self-Checker tool. Adults over age 65 and people of any age with underlying health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease are at higher risk of serious illness due to COVID-19.

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Did You Test Positive for COVID-19?

If you tested positive for COVID-19 at a healthcare facility or by visiting a testing site, you likely have received a phone call or text* from Maricopa County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) linking you to this page.  If you have questions about the validity of the text you received, please call our direct hotline at 602-747-7099 or email us.

If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you’ll be asked to stay isolated at home to help prevent the disease from spreading to other people in your home and community.

To help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community, please read through these pages below and share with anyone who might have been exposed to you while you were infectious with COVID-19.

>>> People with a positive test for COVID-19 with recent onset of mild to moderate symptoms who are high-risk for severe illness may benefit from receiving monoclonal antibody treatment or antiviral therapy, if eligible. Treatment must be started within the first few days to be effective.  Learn more  <<<

*NOTE:

  • If you receive a text stating it is from MCDPH that asks for any personal information not related to your COVID-19 symptoms, please disregard.
  • Your test results should be communicated to you by the provider’s office or testing site where your test was performed.
  • Mobile phone numbers for text alerts are obtained through laboratory reports provided to Public Health. 
  • If your COVID-19 test comes back negative, Public Health will NOT contact you since there is no need to open a case investigation. You will not receive a text or a phone call about your negative test results from Public Health. 

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What to Do When Sick

While you recover, you should isolate at home, which means you should stay in your own room with your own bathroom, if possible.

How Long Should I Stay Isolated?

It can be confusing to know how long you should isolate. Public Health has created a home isolation decision-maker tool to help you know when it's safe to be around others after being sick with COVID-19. 

The length of time you should isolate at home depends on several factors:

  • Were tested for COVID-19 and the test result;
  • Have any symptoms consistent with COVID-19; and
  • Are able to wear a mask.


Click on the button below to take the questionnaire.

How long should I isolate?

For your reference, you may also view and download the Home Isolation Guidelines (PDF).

For questions specific to your specific health or health conditions you have, we encourage you to reach out to your healthcare provider.

For additional guidance, see CDC's What to Do When Sick

Recovery and Monitoring Symptoms

Most people who are mildly ill with COVID-19 fully recover at home with plenty of rest and lots of fluids. Over-the-counter medicines may help with symptoms; check with your healthcare provider about the best care plan for you. 

Medical Outpatient Treatment

If you are higher risk for severe illness or hospitalization due to an underlying health condition(s) or are immunocompromised, your healthcare provider may recommend that you receive treatment to prevent your condition from worsening. Contact a health professional right away after a positive test to determine if you may be eligible due to your higher-risk status or underlying condition, even if your symptoms are mild right now. Treatment must be started within the first few days to be effective. 

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When to Seek Medical Attention

If you feel like your symptoms are worsening, especially if you have difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider or seek medical attention.

In adults, emergency warning signs include*:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

    * This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your symptoms and any recent travel. This will help them prepare for your arrival so that they can take steps to reduce symptom exposure to themselves and other patients.

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Exposure to Someone with COVID-19

Quarantine prevents the spread of COVID-19 by asking people who might be infected to stay away from others until enough time has passed to be sure they don’t have COVID-19. If you are a household member or a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you should stay at home and away from others (quarantine) and monitor yourself for symptoms.

What is Close Contact?

Close contact is being within 6 feet of the sick person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. Exposure starts from 2 days before the person had symptoms of illness (or, for people without symptoms, 2 days prior to being tested) until the time the patient is isolated. 

A cumulative total means all individual exposures added together over a 24-hour period (e.g., three 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes).

Do I Need to Quarantine?

It can be confusing to know if you need to quarantine after being exposed to someone with COVID-19. Public Health has created a quarantine decision-maker tool to help guide your next steps.

Whether you need to quarantine and for how long depends on if you:

  • Were a close contact of someone with COVID-19;
  • Have had COVID-19 in the last 90 days and recovered;
  • Are Up-to-Date with your COVID-19 vaccinations; and
  • Are able to wear a mask.

Click on the button below to answer a few prompts that will help determine your quarantine status:

Should I quarantine? How long?

For your reference, you may also view and download the MCDPH Quarantine Guidance. If you develop symptoms after being exposed, see  MCDPH home isolation guidance.

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Testing and Follow-up Care

Diagnostic testing for COVID-19 is now widely available. Visit our community testing page to locate testing in your area or call 602-506-6767 for more information about testing options and availability.

If you do not have a medical home or are uninsured, consider visiting a community health center if you need medical help. They will work with you to help you get access to a healthcare provider. Please call 602-253-0090 or look at the AACHC website for a health care center near you.

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Caring for Someone with COVID-19

Most people who get sick with COVID-19 will have only mild illness and recover at home with plenty of rest and lots of fluids. Care at home can help stop the spread of COVID-19 and help protect people who are at risk for getting seriously ill from COVID-19. 

Adults over 65 and people of any age with certain serious underlying medical conditions like lung disease, heart disease, or diabetes are at higher risk for developing severe disease from COVID-19 illness and should seek medical care as soon as symptoms start.

If you are caring for someone at home, monitor for emergency signs of worsening health, help prevent the spread of germs, provide symptom care, and understand time frames for when to end home isolation. Keep their healthcare provider’s contact information in a visible place for easy reference.

What should I look for when monitoring their symptoms?

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fatigue, muscle or body aches, fever, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, cough, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. Call their healthcare provider if the person you’re caring for seems to be worse, especially if showing any of these emergency warning signs:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

For medical emergencies, call 911 and notify the dispatch personnel that they have or are suspected to have COVID-19. This will help the first responders and hospital personnel take steps to protect themselves from infection.

How can I prevent the virus from spreading in the home to others?

Have the person stay in one room, away from other people, including yourself, as much as possible. If possible, have them use a separate bathroom. In addition:

  • Avoid sharing personal household items, like dishes, towels, and bedding
  • If able, have the sick person wear a facemask when they are around people, including you.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after interacting with the sick person.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Avoid having any unnecessary visitors.
  • Limit contact with pets & animals. You should restrict the sick person’s contact with pets and other animals, just like you would around other people. See COVID-19 and Animals for more information.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect all surfaces that are touched often, like counters, tabletops, sink handles, and doorknobs.

How can I help them treat their symptoms?

Most cases of COVID-19 are mild and people recover at home within a few days to a week. Make sure the sick person drinks a lot of fluids to stay hydrated and rests at home. Over-the-counter medicines may help with symptoms. Check with their healthcare provider if you have questions about the best course of care, including any additional  treatment options they may be eligible to receive. 

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More Information


Still Have Questions?

If you have questions, please submit your question here or call us at 602-506-6767.

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