COVID-19: When You Are Sick

Picture of someone making a call on a cell phone. Text: Got COVID-19 symptoms? Act Fast! Get tested. Get treatment. Get better. Treatment works best the sooner you start.

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People who get COVID-19 can protect others and reduce the risk of serious illness, hospitalization and death by following these steps to get necessary treatment.

If you think you were exposed to someone who has COVID-19, but do not have symptoms and have not tested positive, use our COVID-19 Isolation and Exposure Guidance Tool to see what steps you should take now.

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1. Get Tested

Get tested as soon as you have COVID-19 symptoms, five days after being exposed to someone with COVID-19 (or sooner if you develop symptoms), and before and after travel and large gatherings.

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2. Isolate Immediately

Isolate right away if you have symptoms or test positive. Go home and separate from others. Even if you do not have symptoms, do everything you can to not spread the virus to others:

If your employer asks for proof you needed to isolate in order to provide sick leave, complete the below form. For more information on COVID-19 sick leave policies, call 855-491-2667.

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3. Talk to a Provider About Treatment

COVID-19 treatments can lower the amount of virus in your body, reduce symptoms and help you avoid hospitalization. Treatment works best when you start it soon after you become sick, so it is important to get tested right away if you have symptoms.

Only a health care provider can prescribe treatment. If your provider decides treatment can help you, they may prescribe oral antivirals, which are taken for five days. Those unable to take oral antivirals may be able to get other types of treatment.

If you test positive, call your health care provider to ask about treatment options. If you do not have a health care provider, call 212-COVID19 (212-268-4319).

To find a pharmacy near you that has COVID-19 treatments, including locations where you can get tested and a prescription in one visit, see the COVID-19 Treatments Locator.

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4. Take Care of Yourself

Even if you do not have symptoms, rest. Take your temperature regularly and be alert to changes in symptoms. If you have a medical emergency, such as trouble breathing, call 911 or go to a hospital.

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5. Take Care of Others

You can take steps to prevent infecting people around you.

  • Tell people you have been in close contact with — within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes over a 24-hour period, starting two days before symptoms or test date — that you have COVID-19 so they can get tested.
  • You can spread the virus for at least five to 10 days after symptoms first appear or after the test date, so always wear a high-grade mask around others during this time.
  • Do not leave isolation unless you have no other way to get essential medical care and basic needs, such as groceries.

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6. Leave Isolation

You can leave isolation if after five days you do not have any symptoms, or if your symptoms have improved, did not include shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, and you have not had a fever in the prior 24 hours without taking fever-reducing medicine. Keep wearing a mask indoors until it has been 10 days since your symptoms began (or you tested positive).


Most people who have COVID-19 completely recover, but some have lasting symptoms and health problems.

Post-COVID-19 conditions, also referred to as Long COVID or chronic COVID, refers to a wide range of symptoms that develop during or after COVID-19 illness and continue for several weeks or months.

Symptoms can include fatigue, breathing problems, muscle pain and trouble focusing or remembering tasks.

If you think you have Long COVID, talk to your provider or visit a Post-COVID Care Clinic:

Additional Resources