COVID-19 What to do if You're Sick

What to do if you are COVID positive

Quarantine and Isolation Calculator

This online tool from the CDC also makes it easy to help you determine how long you need to isolate, quarantine, or take other steps to prevent spreading COVID-19.

Please note that the Quarantine & Isolation Calculator is not for people with COVID-19 who are moderately or severely ill, or those who have a weakened immune system (immunocompromised) -- they should talk to their doctor about when to end isolation.

Isolate

  • Stay home and away from other people (at least 6 feet), even family and pets, for at least five days. If you live with others, stay in a separate room and use a separate bathroom if you can.
  • Wear a well-fitting mask (surgical, KN95 or N95 masks give better protection than cloth masks) if you have to be around other people, even at home.
  • Improve ventilation (open doors, windows) at home if possible.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Disinfect things you touch.
  • Don’t share personal household items like dishes or towels.
  • After you complete the isolation period, you should still continue to wear a mask for an additional 5 days when around others, even at home.
Have a Check-In Buddy: Make sure to tell someone that you tested positive for COVID-19 and are currently isolating. Try to check in with this person daily.

Look for Emergency Warning Signs

If someone is showing any of these signs*, they should seek emergency medical care immediately:
  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Pale, gray, blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone.
Call 911 or call ahead to your local emergency facility: Notify the operator that you are seeking care for someone who has or may have COVID-19.

*This list is not all possible symptoms. Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

Take Care of Yourself

  • Rest
  • Hydrate
  • Monitor symptoms that can include:
    • Fever or chills
    • Shortness of breath
    • Cough
    • Fatigue
    • Muscle or body aches
    • Headache
    • New loss of taste or smell
    • Sore throat
    • Congestion or runny nose
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Diarrhea
If you have questions about symptoms contact your doctor or seek medical attention. If you start to have trouble breathing or have a change in mental status, seek emergency care or call an ambulance. DO NOT WAIT.

Close Contacts

  • Notify anyone who has been within 6 feet of you for a combined total of 15 minutes or more over the last 2 days that they may have been exposed to COVID-19.
  • Advise them to stay home, watch for symptoms, and seek testing 5-7 days after the last exposure.

Report your results to the Pima County Health Department at 520-724-7147

COVID-19 Treatment

Anyone 12 years and older who has mild or moderate COVID-19 symptoms that began less than 10 days ago is potentially eligible to receive a monoclonal antibody treatment. This therapy may also be used as a pre and post exposure prevention for certain people.

  • You may need a referral from your primary care doctor to receive the treatment.
  • You will need a positive COVID-19 test; some sites may require PCR tests instead of antigen tests.
Paxlovid is a short-term oral anti-viral medication taken for five days. This medication may be prescribed for the treatment of mild-to-moderate COVID-19. For more information on treatment, call your primary care doctor to find out more or visit www.pima.gov/covid19treatment

Contact tracing

After a positive result from a proctored test (not a home test), you might:
  • Receive a text message (844-314-5805 or 855-481-1426) to alert you public health will be calling.
  • Get a call from “AZ HEALTH” (602-675-8558, 602-649-4502, 602-649-4339, or 623-232-8504), or PCHD (520-724-1002 or 520-724-1080). PLEASE answer the call. Answering the phone will keep your loved ones and community safe. Calls are made between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily.
  • Receive a text message (1-833-403-5900 or 855-481-1426) to complete a digital survey.

FAQs

UPDATED MARCH 29, 2022: What is the latest guidance for isolation and quarantine?

You isolate to stay away from others when you yourself are sick or have tested positive, and you quarantine when you were exposed to someone else who is sick or has tested positive.  

If you are sick with COVID-19, or test positive, regardless of your vaccination status, you should stay home and isolate for at least 5 days after your positive test or after your symptoms began. While isolating, you should stay in a separate room, avoid contact with other household members and pets, and use a separate bathroom if possible. Avoid sharing items like dishes or towels. You should remain at home until symptoms have improved and you have had no fever for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication.
 
People finishing isolation should continue to wear a mask when around others for an additional 5 days, and avoid being around people who are at high risk. If you were severely ill with COVID-19, or are immunocompromised, you should isolate for at least 10 days, and should talk to your healthcare provider before ending isolation. 

If you were exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19, and you are not up-to-date on your COVID-19 vaccines, you should quarantine at home away from others for at least 5 days after your last exposure. You should get tested on day 5, wear a mask around others for 10 days, and avoid being around people who are at high risk. Those up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccination (or who have had COVID-19 in the last 90 days and recovered) do not need to quarantine, but should still get tested on day 5 and wear a mask around others for 10 days, while avoiding individuals at high risk. Anyone who develops symptoms while in quarantine should get tested and start isolating immediately.

You can use the CDC’s online Quarantine and Isolation Calculator to help you figure out how long you need to isolate, quarantine or take other steps to prevent spreading COVID-19. This calculator is not for people who are moderately or severely ill, or for those who are immunocompromised. These individuals should talk to their doctor about when to end isolation and what other precautions to take. The Pima County Health Department offers more on what to do if you are sick, and the ADHS has a flow chart displaying isolation and quarantine guidance for the general public.
 
Different isolation and quarantine guidelines may apply to people living in congregate settings and to healthcare workers. These groups should consult the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) Release from Isolation & Quarantine Guidance.

Where can I get information about the COVID-19 status in Arizona and Pima County?

View the latest data reports on COVID-19 cases, deaths, hospitalizations, and current progress.

UPDATED DEC. 3, 2021: Can I have long-term effects even after recovering from COVID-19?

Most people with COVID-19 get better within a few weeks of illness, but some have experienced a wide range of new, returning or ongoing combinations of symptoms a month or more after recovering from the initial illness. This may happen to anyone who has had COVID-19, even if their illness was mild or they had no symptoms at all. The CDC calls these lingering health effects “post-COVID conditions,” but they have also been referred to as long-haul COVID, long COVID, post-acute COVID-19, chronic COVID, and post-acute COVID syndrome.

Symptoms commonly reported have included:
  • Tiredness or fatigue
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Difficulty thinking or concentrating (sometimes called “brain fog”)
  • Symptoms that get worse after physical or mental activities (called “post-exertional malaise”)
  • Headache
  • Loss of smell or taste
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness on standing
  • Fast-beating or pounding heart (heart palpitations)
  • Chest pain
  • Changes in menstrual period cycles
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Mood changes
  • Fever
Researchers at Johns Hopkins speculate that about 30% of adult COVID-19 survivors and 2% to 10% of young survivors (some as young as 9 years old) report long-term symptoms. Some people who were severely ill with COVID-19 experience damage to multiple organs including the brain, lungs, kidneys, skin or heart, weeks or months after illness. Some report suffering autoimmune problems. Children can sometimes get a rare condition called Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) in which different organs can become inflamed.

Much is still unknown about the long-term effects of this virus. The CDC and health experts nationwide are working to understand more about how widespread these post-COVID conditions are, how long they last, and what potential treatments might exist. Some large medical centers have opened specialized clinics to care for people with persistent symptoms. Learn more about post-COVID conditions from the CDC and also the Mayo Clinic.

The best way to prevent post-COVID conditions is to avoid getting COVID-19. You can protect yourself by getting vaccinated and boosted as recommended. Additional ways you can protect yourself and others include wearing a mask in public indoor spaces, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated areas, staying 6 feet away from those outside your household, and washing your hands often or using hand sanitizer.
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