I Think I Have Coronavirus, Now What?

March 13, 2020

If you think you’ve been exposed to the new coronavirus (COVID-19) or are developing symptoms associated with COVID-19, follow these steps to help protect yourself and others from getting sick.

If you’ve been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19:

  • Stay home and monitor your symptoms (check regularly for fever, cough and difficulty breathing).
  • Avoid touching your face, nose and eyes and practice good hygiene such as washing your hands and cleaning “high touch” surfaces often
  • Avoid contact with others, keeping a safe distance of at least six feet, for 14 days

If you exhibit symptoms:

Make a Call First

If you are experiencing mild symptoms including respiratory symptoms with fever and cough, you should either utilize telemedicine or call your Primary Care Physician or Urgent Care Facility.

For telemedicine, visit ConvenientCareNow.com or search ‘Convenient Care Now’ in your app store to download the telemedicine app on your phone and initiate a video visit with a board certified physician. Using telemedicine instead of an office visit helps patients and caregivers avoid unnecessary exposure to COVID-19. Use promo code HMH20 for a discounted rate of $20. If you’re 65+, use promo code HMHFree for a free consult. Promo codes apply to NJ residents only.

For Urgent Care Facilities, call first for an initial over the phone consultation. Find a list of Hackensack Meridian Health’s Urgent Care locations here.

Similar to Urgent Care Facilities, please call your primary care physician for initial over the phone consultation. If you don’t have a primary care physician, you can locate one throughout Hackensack Meridian Health.

If a Visit is Required

If, after your initial phone consultation, the clinician advises you visit a care facility for further evaluation, please remember to call to let the facility know when you will be arriving. Caregivers in our patient care locations are putting proper precautions in place to reduce further spread of the virus.

When an Emergency Department Visit is Appropriate

If you are experiencing severe symptoms that you believe to be related to COVID-19, it is appropriate to go to the emergency department. Some emergency warning signs include*:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confuse or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

For individuals who are high risk including those who are 65 or older and those who have compromised immune systems or are pregnant, seeking advice for your medical provider at the onset of symptoms is critical.

If your health care provider suspects you have a mild case of COVID-19, isolate at home. Here’s how:

  • Restrict activities outside of your house, except for getting medical care as instructed by a health care professional. Don’t go to work, school or public places.
  • Avoid public transportation, such as buses, taxis or other ridesharing options.
  • Separate yourself from others at home. If possible, stay in a separate room and use a separate bathroom.
  • Don’t handle pets or other animals while sick.
  • Wear a facemask if you must be near other people (such as in a car or sharing a room).
  • Always cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue. Throw the used tissue out in a lined trash can immediately and wash hands with soap and water (the right way) afterwards.
  • Wash hands often and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Avoid sharing household items, such as dishes, cups and towels. Wash commonly used items often and thoroughly.
  • Clean “high-touch” surfaces every day, such as counters, doorknobs, phones, keyboards and toilets with a household cleaning spray or wipe.

The decision to discontinue home isolation should be made in consultation with your health care provider and state and local health departments.

Monitor your symptoms

Take your temperature and check for symptoms daily. If your illness worsens, contact your doctor. We can’t stress enough how important it is to call before seeking care so the facility can properly prepare for potential exposure to COVID-19. You should continue to self-monitor for 14 days after exposure to the virus.

Help protect others in your household from getting COVID-19

When someone is on home isolation, it’s normal for others in the household to feel heightened anxiety around contracting COVID-19. Follow these steps, in addition to those previously mentioned, to reduce the risk of spreading germs:

  • While using a separate bathroom, if available, also use a separate bedroom.
  • Restrict visitors who don’t have an essential reason for being in the home.
  • Take the lead on caring for any pets.
  • Make sure there’s good air flow in the home – using theair conditioner or opening windows if weather permits.
  • Wear a disposable facemask and gloves if you have to come in contact with the patient, especially their blood, stool, saliva, mucus, vomit or urine. Throw away after using.

Next Steps & Resources:

The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.