COVID-19. Now What?

COVID-19. Now what?

COVID-19 is continually evolving and it isn’t always easy to keep up. You may have recently been tested for COVID-19, or maybe you were just notified that you are a close contact to a positive case, or you could have just found out you tested positive. Now what should you do? Below are some easy steps to follow. 

I have tested positive for COVID-19. Now what?

If you’ve tested positive for or been diagnosed with COVID-19:

  1. Stay separated from others right away. This is called isolation.
    • Stay away from everyone else in your household (stay in a separate room, use a separate bathroom, if possible, etc.).
    • Stay home except to get medical care.
    • Tell your employer or school you have COVID-19 and you can’t go to work or school.
  2. Tell your close contacts so they can quarantine themselves.
    • A close contact to you is someone that
      • Was within 6 feet of you when you were contagious for a total of 15 minutes or more (cumulative), with or without masks or protective barriers.
      • Possibly came in contact with your airway droplets, such as those made by coughing, sneezing or singing, while you were contagious.
      • May have had direct physical contact with you when you were contagious such as hugging, kissing, or contact during high-impact sports or shared eating or drinking utensils with you.
    • You are considered contagious
      • Starting 2 days before your symptoms started until 10 days after your symptoms started.
      • If you never had symptoms but tested positive, you are considered contagious starting 2 days before your COVID-19 test was performed until 10 days after your test was performed.
    • You can tell your close contacts they have been exposed and give them this LINK (link to I have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19 (I am a close contact)-below) for more information.
      • You can also let them know anonymously by using https://tellyourcontacts.org/.
    • You can be around others when
      • at least 10 days have passed since your symptoms began, or since the date of your initial positive test (use the date the test was collected) if never develop symptoms, AND
      • if you had a fever, at least 24 hours have passed since your fever went away without the use of fever-reducing medications, AND
      • your other symptoms have improved.
      • * *Loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation.

See CDC guidance on when you can be around others after you had COVID-19.

Recommendations for Isolating to Protect Other Household Members

  • Stay in a separate room from the rest of your household members and use a separate bathroom if possible.
  • Consider people living with you. If you live with someone with health conditions, think about whether there are other places you or they can stay while you get well.
  • Keep your toothbrush and other personal items separate if you must use the same bathroom.
  • Family and roommates should avoid as much contact with you as possible and they should practice self-quarantine.
  • Wear a mask if you must go into spaces you share with others.
  • Use meal or grocery delivery services when possible or ask family and friends for help.
  • Clean and disinfect things you touch, like light switches, doorknobs, tables, and remotes. Learn about disinfecting your home if someone is sick from CDC.
  • Wash your hands often. Use soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If you do not have soap and water, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Cover cough and sneezes. Cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue, then wash your hands.
  • Don’t leave home, unless you need medical care.
  • Don’t share personal items. Things like dishes, towels, and bedding should not be shared, even with family.
  • Don’t use public transportation if you have another choice.

Learn more about what to do if you are sick, caring for someone sick at home, how to talk to your close contacts, and quarantine and isolation.

When to Seek Medical Care

  • Call your doctor if you have:
    • Fever that does not come down with medication.
    • Vomiting or diarrhea lasting more than 24 hours or any bloody diarrhea.
    • Shortness of breath.
    • Symptoms that keep getting worse and feel unmanageable.
    • Your other medical conditions, like diabetes or high blood pressure, are no longer under control.
  • Seek emergency medical care immediately if you have:
    • Trouble breathing, such as being unable to catch your breath.
    • Chest pain or persistent pressure in your chest.
    • Feel faint, light-headed, or unstable in any other way.
    • New confusion.
    • Inability to wake or stay awake.
    • New pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds.
    • *Note: These are not the only serious symptoms possible. Please call your medical provider for advice if you have any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.
  • When Seeking Care at a Health Care Facility:
    • Call ahead to get instructions from your health care provider and to notify the health care facility you are seeking care for someone that has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • Avoid using public transportation to get to your medical provider or emergency department. Do not use busses, Uber, Lyft, or taxi cabs.
    • If you are unable to drive yourself and do not have a ride, call 9-1-1 for transport by ambulance.
    • Inform them you have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • If a family member or friend is giving you a ride, wear a mask or face covering that covers your mouth and nose while you are in the vehicle with them. If they are able, have them wear a face mask as well.

Managing Isolation

We know isolating at home may be difficult. If you need assistance with things like food, shelter, and healthcare, we want to get you the help you need.

  • If you need help finding community-based support and resources: Visit www.mi211.org or call 2-1-1 for immediate assistance. The Network of Michigan Community Action Agencies (CAA) also provides support in connecting low-income residents with resources in their community, such as food assistance, utility and rental assistance, employment counseling, and more
  • If you need healthcare coverage, food assistance, childcare support, or emergency financial support: Visit MI Bridges to apply for state benefits. MI Bridges also features more than 30,000 state and local services to help meet your needs.
  • If you need to find mental health support resources: Call 1-888-535-6136 and press “8” to talk to a Michigan Stay Well counselor. Or text “RESTORE” to 741741 to start a text conversation with a trained crisis counselor. Counseling is free, confidential and available 24/7. Connect with emotional-support resources and services here (www.michigan.gov/StayWell).
  • If you need to apply for unemployment benefits: Apply for unemployment assistance through the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency.
  • If you need more Information on benefits for workers: Information can be found here
  • If you are a senior and need assistance: The Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) or 517-886-1029 offer services in every region. They offer services like meal delivery, home health care, counseling, and case management.
  • If you need help finding a healthcare provider: Visit your local Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) which you can find at https://www.mpca.net/
  • If you need to know more about energy assistance and shutoff protections: Learn more about energy assistance and shut-off protections from the Michigan Public Service Commission.

When can I be around others?

I have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19 (I am a close contact). Now what?

What to do if you’ve been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19

First, what is a close contact? A close contact to COVID-19 is someone that

  • Was within 6 feet of someone contagious with COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more (cumulative), with or without masks or protective barriers. AND/OR
  • Possibly came in contact with a contagious person’s airway droplets, such as those made by coughing, sneezing, or singing. AND/OR
  • May have had direct physical contact with a person who was contagious with COVID-19 such as hugging, kissing, or contact during high-impact sports or shared eating or drinking utensils with a person who has COVID-19.

A person with COVID-19 is considered contagious

  • Starting 2 days before their symptoms started until 10 days after their symptoms started
  • If they never had symptoms but tested positive, they are considered contagious starting 2 days before their COVID-19 test was performed until 10 days after their test was performed

If you are a close contact of someone with COVID-19 (AND you have NOT been vaccinated against COVID-19 or have previously been infected with COVID-19) follow these quarantine instructions:

We recommend the general public quarantine for 14 days from their last contact with a contagious person. This option is the safest for everyone. However, your quarantine can end after 10 days if:

  • You do not develop symptoms within 10 days AND
  • You continue to monitor your symptoms for 14 days To be clear, there is still a risk of developing an illness between days 11-14; it is simply lower than the first 10 days.

During quarantine:

  • Stay home except to get medical care.
  • Wear a mask or face covering if you must leave your home.
  • Consider getting tested 3 to 5 days after you were exposed to see if you are infected but not yet showing symptoms.
  • Get tested if you develop symptoms.
  • Remember: you cannot test your way out of quarantine. It can take up to 14 days after exposure for an infection to develop, so you could end up testing positive later on.

If you’re a “close contact” of someone with COVID-19 AND you HAVE been vaccinated against COVID-19, follow these instructions:

Vaccinated persons with an exposure to someone with COVID-19 are not required to quarantine if they meet ALL of the following criteria:

  1. They are fully vaccinated, meaning it has been at least 14 days since receiving the final dose in the vaccine series (2 doses of Moderna; 2 doses of Pfizer; or 1 dose of Janssen/Johnson & Johnson) AND
  2. They have not developed any symptoms since their exposure to someone with COVID-19.

However, fully vaccinated close contacts should:

  • Wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days following exposure or until they test negative.
  • Get tested 3-5 days after close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • Get tested and isolate immediately if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

If you’re a “close contact” of someone with COVID-19 AND you HAVE tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 90 days, follow these instructions:

Someone who tested positive for COVID-19 with a viral test (PCR or antigen test) within the past 90 days and has fully recovered and still does not have any COVID-19 symptoms does not need to quarantine. However, they should:

  • Wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days after exposure.
  • Monitor for COVID-19 symptoms and isolate immediately if symptoms develop.
  • Consult with a healthcare professional for testing recommendations if new symptoms develop.

COVID-19 Testing Information

When can I be around others?

I was in contact with someone that was told they were a close contact to someone with COVID-19. Now what?

Someone who is a contact to a close contact of COVID-19 does not have any specific restrictions. They do not need to quarantine.

If the person that has been identified as a close contact develops symptoms of COVID-19, or they test positive for COVID-19, it is possible further action may be needed. This would only be if they were found to have had exposure to that person while they were contagious. See “I have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19 (I am a close contact)” for more information.

Why should I tell my contacts they were exposed to COVID-19?

Contact Tracing can Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19 Contact tracing is one way to help stop more spread of COVID-19.

Contact tracing can help keep outbreaks from growing by quickly telling people they have been exposed, so they don’t spread the virus to others. This is an extremely important tool to stopping the spread of COVID-19.

A close contact is someone who was within 6 feet of someone contagious with COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more (cumulative), with or without masks or protective barriers. The time can be shorter in certain cases where the risk is higher, like coming in contact with a contagious person’s airway droplets, such as those made by coughing, sneezing or singing. Having physical contact with an infected person such as hugging, kissing, or contact during high-impact sports or shared eating or drinking utensils with a person who has COVID-19, may also qualify as a close contact.

Here’s what you need to know about how you can help the Health Department with this important work.

How can I help?

  • Pick up the phone if we call you or call us back as soon as you can if you miss our call. The call may come from different numbers, depending on which staff member is calling. You may also get a call from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ “MI COVID HELP” line.
  • We may send you a text message with a survey instead. Please complete this survey and contact us if you have any questions.
  • Notify your close contacts yourself if you get diagnosed with COVID-19. This allows them to start quarantine right away and further decrease the chances of spread. You can notify them easily and anonymously at https://tellyourcontacts.org/ .
  • Try to limit the number of places you go and people you come in to close contact with. Keep a list of places you’ve been and people you’ve been in close contact in case you do get sick.
  • Download the MI COVID ALERT app help us to notify each other of exposures.
  • Get the COVID-19 vaccine, wear a mask in public, and follow other prevention measures to reduce your chances of getting COVID-19.

When will you contact me?

We’ll do our best to contact you if you test positive for COVID-19. We’ll also be in touch if we’ve found through case investigations that you’ve been in close contact with someone who’s tested positive for COVID-19. There are times when there are too many COVID-19 cases for us to keep up with and we cannot contact everyone personally. If you do not hear from us and have questions or concerns, please contact us at 888-217-3904 or send us an email at info@dhd10.org.

How will you get my contact information?

Health care providers, testing sites, schools, childcare providers, and others are required by law to report positive COVID-19 cases to the public health department. This includes your contact information, and we will call you using that information. If you’ve tested positive, we’ll ask you for the contact information of people you’ve been in close contact with so we can talk to them as well.

What questions will I be asked as part of contact tracing?

We want to make sure you have all the resources you need to isolate (if you’re sick) or quarantine (if you’ve been exposed but are not yet sick). We may ask questions about things like:

  • How you’re feeling.
  • What kind of symptoms you have had.
  • If you’ve had to go to the hospital.
  • If you’ve gotten tested or if you’ve been vaccinated.
  • The phone numbers of your close contacts who may have been exposed and your employer if you’re working outside the home.
  • We’ll also ask for basic information like your birthdate, address, workplace and occupation.

What questions will the Health Department NEVER ask?

We will never ask you about your:

  • Immigration status
  • Bank account
  • Credit card
  • Social security information

If someone calls you and asks for this kind of information, it may be a scam. If you’re concerned you’re being scammed, you can call us at 888-217-3904 or send us an email at info@dhd10.org and we can confirm if the person contacting you is legitimate or not. Calls from the state contact tracing team will come from 866-806-3447 or MI COVID HELP.

What if I don’t speak English?

All Health Department staff have access to phone interpreters. We have some staff who speak other languages. You can also give permission for us to speak to an English-speaking family member.

How do I prevent or reduce the risk of COVID-19?

Each of the following prevention methods can help you avoid being exposed to the virus:

  • Get your COVID-19 vaccine! Getting vaccinated helps prevent you from COVID-related serious illness and reduces your risk of spreading COVID-19 to others.
  • Reduce your risk. While you can’t eliminate risk when leaving your home, there are ways to stay safer if you do. You can use these scales to consider some of the many factors that could contribute to the risk of an activity. The more low-risk choices you make, the more protection you have from getting or spreading COVID-19. If you’re seeing people, talk to them about how you can stay on the greener side of these categories.

Reduce your risk of COVID-19

  • Layer up prevention methods! Each of these actions reduces the risk of spreading and getting COVID-19, but none of them are 100% effective on their own. By layering up these actions, we fill in potential holes which lowers risk and keeps us safer! This is called the “Swiss cheese” model of prevention.
  • Practice social distancing when out. Social distancing means keeping at least six feet between people as much as possible.
  • Avoid crowds and gatherings with people from multiple households
  • Wear a mask/face coveringWear a face covering over your nose and mouth when out in public, especially if you’re in an enclosed space or you’re likely to come within 6 feet from others. 
      • A face mask is a tightly woven cloth or other multi-layer absorbent material that closely covers an individual’s mouth and nose. For the best protection:
        • Make sure your mask fits snugly against your face. Gaps can let air with respiratory droplets leak in and out around the edges of the mask
        • Pick a mask with layers to keep your respiratory droplets in and others’ out. A mask with layers will stop more respiratory droplets getting inside your mask or escaping from your mask if you are sick.
        • Use Masks to Slow the Spread of COVID-19
  • Clean your hands often
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, and before eating or preparing food.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Do not touch your face or mouth, especially when out.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care. Stay away from others in your home. Call ahead before going to your healthcare provider. Learn what to do if you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into the inside of your elbow. Immediately wash your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks. 
    • If surfaces are dirty, clean them. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection
    • A list of disinfectants for use against SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease) is available from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This list includes many commonly used products.
    • ONLY use cleaning and disinfecting products according to their instructions.
      • Cleaning and disinfecting products are not meant to be ingested or used on food! Find more information at FDA, ️CDC, ️and Lysol.
      • Use and store cleaning products safely. Call the Michigan Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 for assistance if you suspect an accidental poisoning. 
      • Information from the FDA on food safety during coronavirus.
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Have questions? Call our COVID-19 hotline at 231-305-8675 or email us at covid@dhd10.org