Symptoms of COVID-19

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms, which may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Click to view a chart comparing symptoms of the different illnesses.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms, get tested as soon as possible. You can ask your healthcare provider for a test or get tested at county and state testing sites by calling 1-833-829-2626 or scheduling an appointment online.

If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your health care provider. If you do not have a provider, call the Contra Costa Health Services Advice Nurse at 1-877-661-6230 option 1.

Click for more information:

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Steps to Help Prevent Spread if You Are Sick

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Stay home except to get medical care

  • Stay home: People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to isolate at home during their illness. You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care.

  • Avoid public areas: Do not go to work, school, or public areas.

  • Avoid public transportation: Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.

Call ahead before visiting your doctor

  • Call ahead: If you have a medical appointment, call the healthcare provider and tell them that you have or may have COVID-19. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed.


Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home

  • Stay away from others: As much as possible, you should stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home. Also, you should use a separate bathroom, if available.

  • Limit contact with pets & animals: You should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would around other people. Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus.

  • When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick. If you are sick with COVID-19, avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a facemask. See COVID-19 and Animals for more information.

Wear a face covering

When around others: You should wear a face covering, when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle), before you enter a healthcare provider’s office and when entering a business. Click here for answers to common questions about face coverings

  • If you are caring for others: If the person who is sick is not able to wear a face covering (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then people who live with the person who is sick should not stay in the same room with them, or they should wear a facemask if they enter a room with the person who is sick.

Cover your coughs and sneezes

  • Cover: Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.

  • Dispose: Throw used tissues in a lined trash can.

  • Wash hands: Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or, if soap and water are not available, clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Clean your hands often

  • Wash hands: Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.

  • Hand sanitizer: If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry.

  • Soap and water: Soap and water are the best option if hands are visibly dirty.

  • Avoid touching: Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid sharing personal household items

  • Do not share: You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets in your home.

  • Wash thoroughly after use: After using these items, they should be washed thoroughly with soap and water.

Clean all “high-touch” surfaces daily

  • Clean and disinfect: Practice routine cleaning of high touch surfaces, including counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables.

  • Disinfect areas with bodily fluids: Also, clean any surfaces that may have blood, stool, or body fluids on them.

  • Household cleaners: Use a household cleaning spray or wipe, according to the label instructions. Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product including precautions you should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.

Monitor your symptoms

  • Seek medical attention: Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening (e.g., difficulty breathing).

  • Call your doctor: Before seeking care, call your healthcare provider and tell them that you have, or are being evaluated for, COVID-19.

  • Wear a face covering: Put on a face covering before you enter the facility. These steps will help the healthcare provider’s office to keep other people in the office or waiting room from getting infected or exposed.

  • Alert health department: Ask your healthcare provider to call the local or state health department. Persons who are placed under active monitoring or facilitated self-monitoring should follow instructions provided by their local health department or occupational health professionals, as appropriate.

How long must I stay home if I have COVID-19 or have had close contact with someone who has COVID-19?


What should I do if I think I have COVID-19, but I haven't been tested?

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Free COVID-19 tests are available at county sites,  State sites or other commercial and healthcare provider sites. We recommend getting tested as soon as possible if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms

Take steps to help prevent spread, including staying home, practicing physical distancing, wearing a cloth face covering, washing hands frequently, and regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces. Isolate at home until you get your test results AND feel better. (Click here for Home Isolation instructions)


Get medical help right away if you start feeling sicker, especially if you have trouble breathing, persistent chest pain, begin to feel confused, or develop bluish lips or face.


Call your health provider if your symptoms do not get better in a few days. Tell them you got tested for COVID-19.  If you do not have a healthcare provider, call the Contra Costa Health Advice Nurse at 1-877-661-6230, option 1.


Symptoms of COVID-19 may be difficult to tell apart from influenza and other respiratory illnesses. To be on the safe side, we recommend anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 stay in their home until they are well (also called “home isolation”).


Deciding when you are well and can leave your home will depend on your symptoms. If you have mild symptoms:

  • Stay at home for at least 10 days after your symptoms began; or 

  • If you still have fever and your other symptom such as cough, body aches, nausea, vomiting, headache, diarrhea, sore throat, fatigue have not improved after 10 days, continue to stay at home until 24 hours after your fever has gone away (without using a fever-reducing medication like Tylenol or ibuprofen) AND your symptoms like cough, body aches, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, headache, diarrhea, or sore throat have improved.

Content source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention