What to Do If You or a Family Member Are Diagnosed with COVID-19

Since the pandemic started in the United States earlier this year, we have all been educated on the steps to prevent getting COVID-19. We understand the importance of social distancing, staying home as much as possible, washing and sanitizing our hands frequently, and always wearing a mask when we are out in public.  Yet, sometimes, despite taking all precautions, you could still end up catching the virus. So what do you do if this happens?

If you’ve been diagnosed with COVID-19

Most people that test positive for COVID-19 have symptoms that are mild enough that they can recuperate at home. The CDC has guidelines and a symptom checker that you can access for additional resources. Typical symptoms include a cough, fever, sore throat, chills, body aches, and some people have gastrointestinal symptoms. Some patients have reported losing the sense of taste and smell as well.

What steps should you take after you are diagnosed?

  • Stay home. It’s important to stay home and quarantine yourself away from other people.
  • Stay in contact with your doctor. Make sure your primary care doctor knows that you have been diagnosed and that you have a method to contact them or a nurse if you have questions or concerns.
  • Monitor and track your symptoms. Be sure to take your temperature daily, at a minimum. Report any spikes in your temperature or change in symptoms to your medical provider.
  • Be alert for symptoms that may require immediate medical attention.
  • Get plenty of rest and stay well hydrated.

For most individuals that have COVID-19, symptoms will usually last one to two weeks. Those that have more severe symptoms may find that their symptoms linger for a longer time. It’s not unusual to feel excess fatigue for a few weeks following your diagnosis.

It’s also not uncommon to experience a day or two of feeling like you’re starting to improve and then feeling worse. This has been a pattern that has been commonly seen in COVID-19 patients.

Call 911 or get to an emergency room right away if you experience the following:

  • Breathing difficulty
  • Pain, heaviness, or pressure in your chest
  • Becoming disoriented or confused
  • Have trouble staying awake or waking up from sleep
  • Bluish tint to your lips

How do I keep my family or those that live in the same house safe?

If you have other people living in your home, try to keep yourself secluded and away from others to keep from spreading COVID-19. If possible, use a separate bathroom and stay isolated in one part of the home. Always wear a mask if you have to be in the same room with other people and have others wear masks when they are around you. Be sure that anything you touch is thoroughly cleaned to keep germs from spreading.

If your family member or loved one has been diagnosed with COVID-19

If you have someone living in your home that has recently been diagnosed with this virus, be sure to help them stay sequestered in a separate room as much as possible. Check on them periodically throughout the day to help monitor symptoms, but only at a distance. You can stand in the doorway of their room, but you should avoid going into the room if at all possible.

You should clean all frequently touched surfaces every day with a disinfecting cleaner. This would include doorknobs, remote controls, counter tops, table tops, keyboards, toilet handles and light switches.


Centers for Disease Control (CDC)


Johns Hopkins


What You Need to Know About COVID-19 in Florida


Public Health Coronavirus Guidelines for the U.S.



This article provides information on general health and health-related subjects. The information and other content provided by this article, or in any linked references, is not intended as a substitute for professional medical expertise and should not be used to replace the advice of your own healthcare provider.

If you or any other person under your care has a medical concern, consult with your health care provider or seek professional medical treatment. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking treatment because of something read in this article or in any linked materials.

If you think you are experiencing a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 for immediate emergency services.