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 a) fully vaccinated and have received a booster OR b) have recently* been fully vaccinated:

and had close contact with someone who has COVID-19, you don’t need to quarantine after being exposed unless symptoms develop. However, you should get tested 5 days after your last exposure, even if you don’t have symptoms, and wear a mask at home and in public for 10 days following exposure.

If you develop any symptoms of COVID-19 in the 10 days after exposure, you should isolate and get tested immediately. A list of symptoms to monitor for can be found on the CDC's COVID-19 symptoms webpage.

*A person is recently vaccinated if it has been ≤5 months after the second shot of Pfizer or Moderna or ≤2 months after the single dose of Johnson and Johnson.

If you are a) fully vaccinated and eligible for a booster but have not received a booster OR b) 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 at least 5 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.  A list of symptoms to monitor for can be found on the CDC's COVID-19 symptoms webpage.

Quarantine can end after day 5 from your last date of exposure if you are able to wear a well-fitting mask. A well-fitting mask should be worn through the 10th day of quarantine. If you cannot wear a well-fitting mask, quarantine should end after day 10 rather than after day 5. Daily symptom monitoring, however, should continue for the full 10 days after the last close contact with a sick person.

Quarantining individuals are recommended to take a COVID-19 test on day 5 of  quarantine. If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 in the 10 days after exposure, you should get tested immediately. 

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 must be around others in your home, you should wear a well-fitting mask.

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

  • stay at home and away from other people for at least 5 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

After day 5, once symptoms have improved and you are fever-free for more than 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication, you may end isolation as long as you can wear a mask through day 10. If you cannot wear a mask, you should isolate through day 10.

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 continue to be symptom free, you may end isolation after day 5 as long as you can wear a mask through day 10. If you cannot wear a mask, you should isolate through day 10.

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

  • continue to isolate for at least 5 days after your symptoms started and are improving as described above

Regardless of vaccination status, any 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 5 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 

Treatment Options

If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you may be able to get therapeutic treatment to help you recover. There are two main types of treatments: monoclonal antibody therapy and antivirals.

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 two ways to get treatment in Colorado:

  • Talk with your doctor or health care provider. If you're eligible, they may provide treatment or help you find a place to get treatment from a local provider, like UCHealth or Banner, that may be offering monoclonal antibodies.
  • The National Infusion Center Association also has a map you can use to find a provider near you, as does the ASPR COVID-19 Therapeutics Locator.

Please note that monoclonal antibody treatment supplies are limited in Colorado at this time. Based on this limited supply, not all eligible patients may receive treatment.

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. 

Antivirals / Test to Treat

The FDA has authorized three antivirals under Emergency Use Authorizations: Paxlovid, Molnupiravir, and Remdesivir. Each antiviral has eligibility criteria that must be met.

The new federal Test to Treat program lets you get tested for COVID-19, get a prescription for treatment from a health care provider (if appropriate), and have your prescription filled all at one location (if appropriate). There is at least one Test to Treat location in Weld County: 

Some other local retail pharmacies that currently have antivirals include: 

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

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