I HAVE TESTED POSITIVE FOR COVID-19, NOW WHAT?
If you receive a positive diagnosis for COVID-19, you may be surprised, especially if you have not had any symptoms of the disease. You may also feel afraid and unsure of what you should do next. The good news is you or your loved one may be eligible for a variety of COVID-19 treatment options. The information on this page can help you decide on your next steps.
There is no way to know how you or anyone else will react to having COVID‑19. Most people who have COVID-19 do not get seriously ill and may not even have symptoms. However, people who are at risk for serious COVID‑19 could need hospital care or have worse outcomes. Each case of COVID-19 is different depending on a person’s age and other health conditions.
There is no cure for COVID-19 yet, but, healthcare professionals are using several treatments for people with more serious symptoms to help the body fight the disease and possibly decrease its long-term effects. Talk with your healthcare professional to see which treatments may be appropriate if you or your loved one test positive for COVID-19.
In the meantime, it is important that you isolate from other people for at least 5 days until your symptoms are better and you no longer have a fever without taking medicine. When you isolate yourself, this means staying away from others, even in your home. If you do not isolate yourself, you could spread the disease to other people even if you do not feel sick. If you do leave your home for medical care, wear a face mask. The CDC recommends that people with COVID-19 stay in a specific “sick room” or area and use a separate bathroom (if one is available).
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I TESTED POSITIVE FOR COVID-19 AND AM AT RISK FOR DEVELOPING SERIOUS COVID-19 SYMPTOMS?
People at high risk for developing severe symptoms of COVID-19 include older adults and people with underlying conditions such as cancer, heart and lung conditions, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease, obesity, sickle cell, or compromised (weakened) immune systems.
If you have mild to moderate symptoms and you are at high risk, stay in touch with your healthcare professional. Ask them about treatment options that may help you stay out of the hospital and/or avoid progression to serious illness.
If you develop any serious symptoms that could be an emergency (see Possible Serious Symptoms list for more details), call 911 or call ahead to your local emergency care center or facility. Tell the operator that you are seeking care for someone who has or may have COVID-19.
Possible Serious Symptoms
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- Confusion you have not experienced before
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Bluish lips or face
If your symptoms get worse, you should call your healthcare professional immediately. Tell the healthcare professional that you have tested positive for COVID-19. This will help them get you the treatment you need as fast as possible. Some treatments should be started within 5 days of your first symptoms. The healthcare professional will also take steps to keep other people from being exposed.
ACT NOW AND FIND AVAILABLE TREATMENTS
There are treatments available for people who have tested positive for COVID-19. Some treatments help people who are more sick and in the hospital, while other treatments are for people with mild to moderate symptoms.
Act now because some of these treatments should be received within 5 to 7 days of when the symptoms first appear. Learn more about these treatments:
IN THE HOSPITAL
- COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma: Convalescent plasma is blood plasma taken from people who have recovered from COVID-19. It contains antibodies that can recognize and neutralize SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, as well as other components that may contribute to an immune response. This treatment is for people who have weakened immune systems or are receiving treatment that may weaken their immune system.
- Baricitinib (Olumiant): This treatment is for children who are 2 to 18 years old requiring supplemental oxygen, non-invasive or invasive mechanical ventilation, or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). Olumiant (baricitinib) is now FDA approved for the treatment of COVID-19 in hospitalized adults requiring supplemental oxygen, non-invasive or invasive mechanical ventilation, or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO).
- Tolcilizumab (Actemra®): This is a monoclonal antibody treatment for adults and children (2 years of age and older) in the hospital who are receiving corticosteroids and who require supplemental oxygen, a ventilator, or ECMO. Actemra may decrease the risk of death for people in the hospital with COVID-19.
- Veklury (remdesivir): This is the first drug approved by the FDA for the treatment of COVID-19 for adults and children at least 28 days of age and weighing 3 kg (about 7 pounds) who are in or out of the hospital and have positive results from a SARS-CoV-2 test. Veklury is in a class of medications called antivirals. It works by stopping the virus from spreading in the body.
NOT IN THE HOSPITAL
- Bebtelovimab: This is a monoclonal antibody for adults and children 12 years or older (weighing at least 88 pounds) who have tested positive for COVID-19, have mild-to-moderate symptoms, are not in the hospital, and are at high risk for progressing to serious COVID-19 outcomes. Bebtelovimab must be given within 7 days after first symptoms of COVID-19 appear.
- Veklury (remdesivir): When given early, remdesivir has been shown to improve clinical outcomes in both hospitalized people with COVID-19 and people outside the hospital. To receive Veklury as a person not in the hospital, the person must go to an IV infusion center. Veklury is approved for adults and children 28 days of age and older weighing at least 3 kg (about 7 pounds) who are in or out of the hospital and have positive results from a SARS-CoV-2 test
- Paxlovid™: This medication is taken orally (as a pill) to treat mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19. It must be given within 5 days after the first symptoms of COVID-19 appear. Paxlovid is for adults and children who are 12 years of age and older weighing at least 88 pounds. Paxlovid may interfere with hormonal contraceptives, so alternative contraceptive methods are advised. Paxlovid is not recommended for people with severe kidney or liver disease.
- Lagevrio (molnupiravir): This medication is taken orally (as a pill) to treat mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19. It must be given within 5 days after the first symptoms of COVID-19 appear. Lagevrio is for adults 18 years and older. Lagevrio is not recommended during pregnancy or when breastfeeding. Also, additional contraceptive methods are required for a short while after the last dose.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT AFTER MY COVID-19 SYMPTOMS GO AWAY?
Recovering from COVID-19 can take time and patience. In one study, more than half of the people surveyed were still feeling fatigued (very tired) 60 days after their first COVID-19 symptoms appeared. Four in 10 people still had labored breathing. More than a quarter of people still had joint pain.
Mental and emotional health effects are also common for people who have had COVID-19. These effects can include memory problems, difficulty focusing, anxiety, and depression. The effects are often more serious for people who had other health conditions before they had COVID-19.
Physical and mental health symptoms reported by people after recovering from COVID-19 illness is known as “post-COVID-19 syndrome.” Health researchers are still studying these effects, so it is too early to say which of these issues are directly caused by the virus or which issues result from having a compromised immune system.
If you have physical and/or mental health effects of COVID-19 that have lasted longer than expected, see your healthcare professional. They may need to refer you to different specialists to help with your recovery.