Potential Exposure to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

What to do if you were potentially exposed to someone with confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19)

What is COVID-19 (novel coronavirus 2019)?

It is a respiratory disease caused by a new virus called SARS-CoV-2. The most common symptoms are:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Most people with COVID-19 will have mild disease, but some people will get sicker and may need to be in the hospital.

How do I know if I was exposed?

You often need to be in close contact with a sick person to get infected, such as:

  • Living in the same house as a sick person with COVID-19
  • Caring for a sick person with COVID-19
  • Being within 6 feet of a sick person with COVID-19 for about 10 minutes
  • Being in direct contact with secretions from a sick person with COVID-19
    • Coughed on, kissing, sharing utensils

What should I do if I am not sure if I was exposed to someone with COVID-19 while they were ill, but I am not sick

You are at low risk for infection if you have not been in close contact with a sick person with COVID-19. You can keep working or going to school but need to:

  • Watch your health for 14 days.
  • Stay away from others if you get sick.

What should I do if I know I was in close contact with someone with COVID-19 while they were ill, but I am not sick?

You are deemed Essential Services Personnel by the Iowa Department of Public Health if you are a health care worker, law enforcement, fire and EMS personnel, long term care personnel, or residential support facility personnel. You should:

  • Watch yourself for fever or respiratory symptoms, such as a new or worsening cough.
  • Keep going to work if you do not symptoms.
  • Do not go to work if you have symptoms. Call your employer right away.

If you are a non-Essential Services Personnel, watch yourself for fever, cough, and shortness of breath during the 14 days after the last day you were in close contact with the sick person with COVID-19. Do not go to work or school. Do not go in public places for 14 days.

What should I do if I am in close contact with someone with COVID-19 and I get sick?

If you get sick with fever, cough, or shortness of breath (even if your symptoms are very mild), you likely have COVID-19. Stay home and away from other people. Schedule a video visit online with a provider via MyChart or by calling 1-319-384-9010. They may want to watch your health more closely or test you for COVID-19.

There are no medicines to treat COVID-19 at this time. If you have an emergency and need to call 911, tell the emergency personnel you may have been exposed to COVID-19. If you can, put on a face mask before or right after emergency workers get to your home.

How long do I need to be in home isolation if I get sick?

Stay home and away from others in the house until:

  • You do not have a fever for at least 72 hours. That is 3 full days of no fever without the use of medicine that lowers fevers, and
  • Other symptoms are better, such as your cough or shortness of breath, and
  • At least 10 days have passed since your symptoms first started

Talk with your employer about when you are able to go back to work.

Request COVID-19 Screening

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