If You Are Sick

Possible COVID-19 symptoms include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

If you are experiencing these systems, your medical provider will decide if you should be tested for Covid-19.  Community testing sites are also available in several areas throughout the county.  

Testing Locations and Information

If you develop symptoms that concern you, call your medical provider.

  • Tell them if you tested positive for COVID-19 or if you were exposed to someone with COVID-19.
  • Let them know if you are at high risk for serious illness. You are at high risk if you are: 65 years or older; have a chronic disease (e.g., diabetes); or a weak immune system.
  • If you have to leave your home for medical care or testing, be careful. Wear a facemask or a cloth face covering (see Guidance for Cloth FaceCoverings).
  • Use a private vehicle if possible. If you cannot drive yourself, keep as much distance as possible between you and the driver. Wear a face covering and leave the windows down if you can. Avoid using public transportation, ride shares, or taxis.

Some symptoms require that you seek medical help immediately. If you develop any of the following symptoms, please call 911 or call ahead to the Emergency Room to let them know that you have been identified as a close contact of someone with COVID 19 and be prepared to share your date of exposure. Let them know what symptoms you are having. If you develop any of the following symptoms, seek emergency medical care or call 911 immediately:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face

Please notify the 9-1-1 operator or medical provider that you have received notice that you are a close contact of an individual with COVID-19 and be prepared to share your date of exposure.

Individuals with COVID-19 will be directed to Isolate and may be instructed to recover at home if their symptoms do not require hospitalization.


If you suspect you have COVID-19

If you are sick with COVID-19 or suspect you are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, help prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home and community.

Stay home and self-isolate. Protect those around you. Separate yourself from others in your household and only leave your home if you need medical care.  

  • Wash your hands often, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If a sink is not available, use hand sanitizer (containing 60% ethanol or 70%
  • isopropanol). Never use hand sanitizers with methanol due to its high
  • toxicity to both children and adults.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes
  • Wear a facemask any time you are around other people, even at home. This includes any time someone else must enter the same room you are in. If you do not have a facemask, wear a cloth face covering.
    • Do not place a facemask or cloth face covering on anyone who has trouble breathing or is unable to remove it without assistance.
    • A person who must enter your room should wear a facemask if you are unable to wear one. Afterwards they should immediately wash their hands, then remove their facemask, and wash their hands again.
    • Infants and children under 2 years of age should not wear a facemask or cloth face covering. Children ages 2-8 can use them under parent or adult supervision. Parents should make sure children can breathe safely to avoid choking or suffocation.
  • Wipe down surfaces that you touch frequently with disposable cloths using bleach or household cleaners.

If you must leave your home for medical care

  • Do not go to work, school, or public areas.   
  • If you must leave home to get medical care, call ahead of time and use a private vehicle if possible. If you cannot drive yourself, keep as much distance between you and the driver as you can. Wear a facemask (or if you don’t have one, cloth face covering) and leave the windows down if possible.
  • Avoid public transportation, ride shares, or taxis
  • Wear a facemask (or cloth face covering) before entering hospitals or medical offices.

Separate yourself from other people in your home

  • Stay in a separate room and away from other people.
  • Try to stay away from people who are at higher risk of serious illness. People who are age 65 years or older, severely overweight, or have a health problem such as a chronic disease (e.g., diabetes) or a weak immune system are considered high risk. If these people live with you, they should contact their doctor, especially if they are having any symptoms.
  • Use a separate bathroom. If not possible, clean and disinfect the bathroom after use.
  • Stay at least 6 feet (2 meters) from others.
  • Open windows and turn on a fan (if possible) in shared spaces for good airflow.
  • Do not allow visitors.
  • Do not prepare or serve food to others.

Care for yourself at home

  • Rest and drink plenty of fluids
  • Take over-the-counter medicines as directed to reduce fever and pain (talk to a medical provider before giving a child younger than 2 years old over-the-counter cold medicines). Note: over-the-counter medicines do not “cure” you and do not stop you from spreading germs.

Note: Individuals with COVID-19 will be directed to Isolate and may be instructed to recover at home if their symptoms do not require hospitalization.

Protect your health

As with any virus, there are also steps you can take to protect your health and those around you:

  • Wash hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.  If soap is not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.  
  • Avoiding touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick are all ways to reduce the risk of infection with a number of different viruses.
  • Staying away from work, school or other people if you become sick with respiratory symptoms like fever and cough.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and discard the tissue.  
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces regularly.

Symptoms of COVID-19 range from mild to severe and include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Older adults and individuals with underlying medical conditions are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. 

In most cases of mild to moderate illness, it is most effective and most comfortable to rest and recover at home.

If you have more severe symptoms and require medical care, call ahead to your regular health care provider for special instructions. If you do not have a regular health care provider, call ahead to your local urgent care clinic.

Only go to the emergency room if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

SLO County Environmental Health Disinfection Guidance

Disinfection Guidance - English

Disinfection Guidance - Spanish

CDC Guidance

CDC Guidance - What to do if you are sick

CDC Guidance - Preventing COVID-19 from spreading