What To Do If You Are Sick

Overview

If you think you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 and/or have tested positive for COVID-19, please refer to the following guidelines and potential treatment options to keep you and your family safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Exposure, Quarantine, and Isolation

How do I know if I was exposed?

An exposure to COVID-19 is defined as contact with the virus in a manner that promotes transmission and increases the likelihood of disease. For anyone who has been around someone with COVID-19, an exposure is also known as a close contact, which is being less than 6 feet away from an infected person (laboratory-confirmed or a clinical diagnosis) for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. For example, three individual 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes. 

When to Quarantine

Quarantining prevents the ongoing spread of the virus to other people by individuals who know they have been exposed or are likely to have been exposed, but do not yet know if they have been infected. It’s a precaution and an effective tool to prevent viral spread since people infected with COVID-19 can be contagious even without having symptoms.

If you are fully vaccinated:

and had close contact with someone who has COVID-19, you don’t need to quarantine after being exposed to someone with COVID-19, unless symptoms develop. However, you should get tested 5-7 days after exposure, even if you don’t have symptoms, and wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days following exposure or until your test result is negative. If you develop any symptoms of COVID-19 in the 14 days after exposure, you should get tested, even if you have a previous negative test. 

If you are not fully vaccinated:

and had close contact with someone who has COVID-19, follow the instructions on how to quarantine to prevent further transmission. You should stay home for 14 days starting after the last day you were in close contact with a person who has COVID-19. You should not go to work or school and should avoid public places, and if possible stay away from other people you live with. Monitor your symptoms and watch for fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath.

Quarantine can end after Day 10 without testing if you do not have contact with high-risk individuals. Quarantine can end after Day 7 if you don not have contact with high-risk individuals and you test negative 48 hours before the last day of quarantine (day 5 or later). Daily monitoring, however, should continue for the full 14 days after the last close contact with a sick person. 

When to Isolate

Isolation is used to separate sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick. People who are in isolation should stay home until it’s safe for them to be around others. At home, anyone sick or infected should separate from others, stay in a specific “sick room” or area, and use a separate bathroom (if available).

If you tested positive for COVID-19 and have symptoms:

  • stay at home and away from other people for at least 10 days after your symptoms started
  • wait until you have had no fever for at least 24 hours (without fever-reducing medicine)
  • and wait until your other symptoms have improved

If you tested positive and do not have symptoms:

  • stay at home and away from other people for 10 days starting the date of your positive test

If you had no symptoms when you tested positive but develop symptoms AFTER your test:

  • continue to isolate for 10 days after your symptoms started and are improving as described above

Although the risk that fully vaccinated people could become infected with COVID-19 is low, any fully vaccinated person who experiences symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should isolate and get tested. If you are symptomatic but fully vaccinated, inform your health care provider of your vaccination status. If you test positive, you should isolate for at least 10 days from the beginning of your symptoms (or from your test date if you have no symptoms).

While you are in isolation: 

  • stay at home except to get medical care
  • monitor your symptoms and know how to recognize an emergency
  • separate yourself from other people and animals in your home
  • don’t share personal household items, like cups, towels, and utensils
  • wear a face covering when you are around other people or pets, and before you enter a health care provider’s office 

Potential Treatments

Treatments used for COVID-19 should be prescribed by your healthcare provider. People have been seriously harmed and even died after taking products not approved for COVID-19, even products approved or prescribed for other uses.

Monoclonal Antibody Treatment

If you have tested positive for COVID-19, your symptoms started within the last 10 days, you aren’t hospitalized or on oxygen due to COVID-19, and you are at risk of getting very sick without treatment, you may be able to get monoclonal antibody treatment to help you recover. This treatment can help keep you from getting seriously sick and keep you out of the hospital.  

The FDA has issued EUAs for a number of investigational monoclonal antibodies that can attach to parts of the virus. These antibodies could help the immune system recognize and respond more effectively to the virus. The NIH COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines provide information about these drugs and describe what is known about their effectiveness. 

You can get monoclonal antibody treatment even if you are fully vaccinated and have a breakthrough case, and people as young as 12 years old can get monoclonal antibody treatment.    

There are several ways to get treatment in Colorado:

  • Schedule an appointment at a state-led clinic. You can call the COVID-19 hotline at 1-877-CO VAX CO (1-877-268-2926) for help making an appointment. The hotline is available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Appointment are required.
  • Make an appointment at a local provider offering monoclonal antibodies, including UCHealth or Banner. The National Infusion Center Association also has a map you can use to find a provider near you. 

Your treatment provider may require proof of a positive COVID-19 test before administering treatment. Please check with your provider before scheduling an appointment.

NOTE: Monoclonal antibody treatments are not a substitute for vaccination against COVID-19. Getting vaccinated is the best way to keep from getting sick with COVID-19. 

Oral Antivirals

Initial supplies of Pfizer’s Paxlovid and Merck’s Molnupiravir (oral antivirals) were allocated to some hospitals/health systems with outpatient pharmacies. Some local retail pharmacies that currently have both Paxlovid and Molnupiravir include: 

Banner Health asks that anybody sick with COVID-19 either stay in their car and call the pharmacy so a staff member can deliver curbside or send in a representative to pick up the prescription for them.

Subsequent allocations will be expanded to include federally qualified health centers, local public health agencies and select retail pharmacy locations.

If you have questions or concerns about the oral antivirals, please contact your health care provider. The Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) for Paxlovid and Molnupiravir are available for review below: