Updated March 25, 2020.
As testing for COVID-19 becomes more widely available, you may be wondering what an affirmative coronavirus diagnosis actually means. While the media swirl around coronavirus may paint an alarming picture, in actuality, a care plan for someone diagnosed with COVID-19 doesn’t look much different than it would for someone that is treating a cold or flu.
I was tested for COVID-19. What’s next?
After visiting a designated center for a COVID-19 specimen collection coordinated by your healthcare provider, your test will be sent to a laboratory for processing. Once your provider receives your test results back, they will contact you to share your negative or positive diagnosis and provide a care plan based on your symptoms. Wait times for COVID-19 test results are currently varying from three to seven days.
Please note, all healthcare providers are required to confidentially report all positive COVID-19 results to the Department of Health. They may reach out to learn more about any recent travel or close contacts to assist in containing the spread of the virus.
I tested positive for COVID-19 but am not showing symptoms.
If you tested positive for COVID-19, your One Medical provider will call you to talk through your test results and provide a care plan. If you’re not showing symptoms, there is a good chance that you’re already on the road to recovery. As of late, health experts have found little evidence that those infected with COVID-19 will contract it again. While you may feel fine, it’s important that you still take measures to prevent others from contracting the virus. Your provider will recommend self-isolation until the following:
- You have had no fever for at least 72 hours (that is three full days of no fever without the use medicine that reduces fevers)
- other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved)
- at least 7 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared
The decision to stop home isolation should be left to healthcare providers and local health authorities.
I tested positive and am experiencing manageable symptoms.
Many of those who get tested for COVID-19 will actively be experiencing symptoms similar to those of a cold or flu. While there is currently no known cure for the coronavirus, your provider will offer tips on things you can do from home to help ease your recovery period. Most importantly, make sure to get plenty of rest, drink lots of water and take Tylenol (or another pain/fever reducer as instructed by your provider) to alleviate pain and help reduce fever.
Your provider will likely recommend self-isolation until you have been fever-free for at least 72 hours without the use of medication, other symptoms have improved, and at least 7 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared. While it’s important to keep a safe distance of six feet from others during this time, make sure that you check in with your provider if your symptoms become more severe. We also recommend reaching out to a friend or family member who may be able to help drop off supplies during your self-isolation period.
If your symptoms become so severe that you are unable to take care of yourself (i.e. unable to consume liquids and food, experiencing excessive light-headedness, etc.) then you should immediately reach out to your healthcare provider, or for emergencies, dial 911.
The One Medical blog is published by One Medical, an innovative primary care practice with offices in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, Portland, the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, and Washington, DC.
Any general advice posted on our blog, website, or app is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace or substitute for any medical or other advice. The One Medical Group entities and 1Life Healthcare, Inc. make no representations or warranties and expressly disclaim any and all liability concerning any treatment, action by, or effect on any person following the general information offered or provided within or through the blog, website, or app. If you have specific concerns or a situation arises in which you require medical advice, you should consult with an appropriately trained and qualified medical services provider.