If You Are Sick or Test Positive: COVID-19 - Minnesota Dept. of Health
As we learn more about COVID-19, recommendations and guidance are updated frequently. Please check back often.

If You Are Sick or Test Positive: COVID-19

On this page:
If you feel sick or have any symptoms of COVID-19
If you test positive for COVID-19
Getting COVID-19 again
How long to stay home
Going to the doctor
Caring for someone who is sick

COVID-19 Medication Options
Medications to prevent or treat illness may be available if you have certain medical conditions or are at high risk of contact with someone with COVID-19. Note: some treatments must be given as soon as possible after a positive test result.

If you feel sick or have any symptoms of COVID-19

Whether or not you are fully vaccinated:

  • Get tested right away. Visit COVID-19 Testing.
  • Stay home and away from others. Refer to the how long to stay home section below.
  • Wear a mask if you must be around others. Follow Recommendations for Wearing Masks.
  • Wash your hands often, with soap and water. Wash for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol.
  • Cover Your Cough: cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue. Throw used tissues in the trash. Wash your hands.

If you test positive for COVID-19

Getting COVID-19 again

  • If you had COVID-19 in the past three months, you may still have some protection from the virus. However, after those first three months, your chance of getting COVID-19 again increases, especially with new variants circulating.
  • Variants may be different from your initial infection and your natural immunity may not be able to protect you as well from the variants. The best way to protect yourself is to get vaccinated. You do not have to wait three months after recovering from COVID-19 to get vaccinated.
  • New research shows that people who are fully vaccinated get better protection from COVID-19 compared to those who only have natural immunity from a previous infection of COVID-19. A CDC report showed that unvaccinated people who already had COVID-19 are more than twice as likely than fully vaccinated people to get COVID-19 again: Reduced Risk of Reinfection with SARS-CoV-2 After COVID-19 Vaccination — Kentucky, May–June 2021.

For more information, visit: About COVID-19 Vaccine

How long to stay home

  • If you have symptoms of COVID-19, stay home until all three of these things are true:
    • You feel better. Your cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms are better.
      and
    • It has been 10 days since you first felt sick.
      and
    • You have had no fever for at least 24 hours, without using medicine that lowers fevers.
  • If you have tested positive for COVID-19 but do not have symptoms, you must still stay home and away from others for 10 days.
  • If a lab test shows you have COVID-19, someone from the health department will give you more information and answer your questions.
  • Talk to your health care provider if you have questions.
  • If a lab test shows you do not have COVID-19 but you have symptoms, stay home until your symptoms are better and you do not have a fever. Symptoms of COVID-19 can be similar to other illnesses. It is important to follow your health care provider’s advice before going back to school, work, or other places.

Going to the doctor

  • Call ahead before going in to see a health care provider.
  • If you are older or have other 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 worse symptoms during the second week of illness.
    • Seek medical care right away if your illness is getting worse (for example, if you have difficulty breathing). Call ahead and tell them your symptoms.
  • Low oxygen levels can be an early warning sign that people need medical care. For more information, refer to Oxygen Levels, Pulse Oximeters, and COVID-19.

CDC's Coronavirus Self-Checker found at Symptoms of COVID-19 can help you make decisions about seeking appropriate medical care. This tool is not intended for the diagnosis or treatment of disease or other conditions, including COVID-19.

Caring for someone who is sick

  • If someone in your household gets sick, do your best to keep them away from others in the house. Have one person take care of the person who is sick. Stay 6 feet away from the person who is sick as much as you can, even if you are vaccinated.
  • Caregivers and anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 should stay home, except in limited circumstances. Learn about when and how to quarantine: Close Contacts and Tracing.
  • The person who is sick should wear a cloth face covering when anyone else is in the room, except when sleeping. The caregiver, and everyone else in the house, should wear cloth face coverings when they are in the same room with the person who is sick. Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is not able to remove the covering without help.
  • The person who is sick should not make food or eat with others in the house.
  • If a sleeping room must be shared, open doors or windows sometimes to get fresh air inside. Sleep at least 6 feet apart, hang curtains or put cardboard walls around the person who is sick, and sleep head to toe.
  • If a bathroom must be shared, clean doorknobs, faucets, and other surfaces people touch a lot. Clean each time the person who is sick uses the bathroom.
  • Always wash your hands when touching surfaces and items in rooms the sick person also uses. Do not to touch your face with unwashed hands.

Updated Friday, 17-Sep-2021 12:21:26 CDT