ACEP ID:

Coronavirus Discharge — Confirmed or Suspected

You were evaluated in the emergency department (ED) with symptoms concerning for COVID-19. While the diagnosis may feel scary, most cases resolve on their own without hospitalization. Certain high risk people are treated with medications to reduce their risk of serious symptoms. At this time, we feel that you are safe to go home.

Steps to take at home to care for yourself:

  • Get lots of rest and stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids.
  • You can take acetaminophen (eg, Tylenol) or ibuprofen (eg, Advil, Motrin) for fevers or body aches.
  • If you have questions, call your primary care doctor, contact your local health department, or visit the CDC’s website at gov/coronavirus.
  • Speak with your primary care doctor within two weeks to discuss a plan to follow up.

 How to avoid spreading the virus to others:

  • Stay at home, except if seeking medical care.
  • Cover your coughs (with a tissue or in your elbow) and avoid touching your face unnecessarily.
  • Wash your hands often (using soap and water for 20 seconds) to decrease your risk of infecting others.
  • Try to avoid close contact with others in your home, including pets. If possible, use a different bathroom, and sleep in a separate room. If you must be near others, be sure everyone wears a face mask and wash your hands before interacting with them. 
  • If a test was sent and is positive, your local health department may contact you. Follow their directions about when to go back to work or school.
  • If you were not tested, you may stop quarantine 10 days after the start of your symptoms, as long as your fever has been completely gone(without using medications) for at least 24 hours and your other symptoms are improving.
  • Vaccination against COVID-19 can reduce your risk of reinfection. If you tested negative for COVID-19, you may get the vaccine as soon as possible. If you tested positive for COVID-19, you should still get a vaccine once allowed by your health department.

If you or those around you are concerned about COVID-19, call your primary care doctor for advice about steps to take. Your health system may have specific locations for testing if you are not extremely sick. This lowers the risk that you could catch a virus or pass it on in the ED waiting room. Speak to your doctor or come back to the ED for new or worsening symptoms, such as severe headache, confusion, chest pain, difficulty breathing, or vomiting to the point that you cannot drink fluids. Review medication inserts for side effects and call the ED if you have any questions about the medications or care you received.

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