Sick or Exposed to COVID-19

Symptoms and Risk


If you’re experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms, you may feel like you need to get tested for COVID-19, or coronavirus, to ease your mind. People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness.

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms or combinations of symptoms may have COVID-19: 

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

Check the CDC website for the latest list of symptoms associated with COVID-19.

In some instances, people infected with COVID-19 have no symptoms or symptoms are so mild they don’t feel sick. That’s why it’s so important for all of us to stay home as much as possible, avoid gatherings of 10 or more, and practice social distancing to help slow the spread of the virus.

For most of us with mild symptoms, getting tested won’t change our treatment. Whether you have another flu-like virus or COVID-19, the vast majority of people do very well recovering at home and symptoms can be treated with over-the counter medicines. You can check your symptoms using the CDC Coronavirus Self-Checker tool. Adults over age 65 and people of any age with underlying health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease are at higher risk of serious illness due to COVID-19.

It’s important EVERYONE take prevention steps to help stop the spread:

  • Wear a face covering in public spaces
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

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When to Seek Medical Attention

If you feel like your symptoms are worsening, especially if you have difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider or seek medical attention.

In adults, emergency warning signs include*:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion 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.

Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your symptoms and any recent travel. This will help them prepare for your arrival so that they can take steps to reduce symptom exposure to themselves and other patients.

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Sick or Being Tested for COVID-19

If you have tested positive for COVID-19 and you are sent home to recover, you’ll be asked to stay isolated at home to help prevent the disease from spreading to other people in your home and community. Other people you live with and those you had close contact with during the time since you became sick will be asked to take specific actions to quarantine themselves, monitor for symptoms, and prevent further spread to others.

How Long Should I Stay Isolated at Home?

It can be confusing to know how long you should isolate at home. Public Health has created a home isolation decision-maker tool to help you know when it's safe to be around others after being sick with COVID-19. 

The length of time you should isolate at home depends on several factors:

  • Been tested for COVID-19, what type of test was done, and what the result of the test was;
  • Had any symptoms consistent with COVID-19;
  • Been admitted to an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for your illness; and
  • If you are severely immunocompromised.

Click on the button below to take the questionnaire.

How long should I stay home?

For your reference, you may also view and download the Home Isolation Guidelines (PDF).

Avoiding Contact with Others

Staying home and avoiding physical contact with others is an important prevention step you can take to protect others from being infected and spreading further into the community. It can also be difficult, at times, as it may leave you feeling isolated, or alone. Calling up friends and using mobile video chats can be great ways to stay connected even when physically apart.

Please follow these guidelines during your home isolation period:

  • Stay away from others. As much as possible, you should stay in a specific “sick room” and away from other people in your home. Use a separate bathroom, if available.
  • Do not go to work, school or any public areas. Have someone help you with essential tasks like grocery shopping. If you need a note to explain your absence, you can use the Public Health Statement for Medical Absence: English | Spanish (PDF)
  • Stay in touch with your doctor. Call before you get medical care. Be sure to get care if you feel worse or you think it is an emergency.
  • Avoid public transportation: Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.
  • Limit contact with pets & animals: You should restrict contact with pets and other animals, just like you would around other people. When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick. See COVID-19 and Animals for more information.
  • Wear a facemask when in the same room with other people and when you visit a healthcare provider. If you do not have a facemask, you can use a bandana or scarf to cover your mouth and nose as an alternative.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with your elbow. Throw used tissues in the trash.
  • Wash your hands and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Avoid sharing household items like dishes, cups, eating utensils, and bedding.
  • Clean and disinfect: Routinely clean and disinfect surfaces that are touched often, like counters, tabletops, and doorknobs.

For your reference, you may also view and download the Home Isolation Guidelines (PDF)

Recovery and Monitoring Symptoms

Most people who are mildly ill with COVID-19 fully recover at home with plenty of rest and lots of fluids. There is no medical treatment or cure for COVID-19. Over-the-counter medicines may help with symptoms; check with your healthcare provider about the best care plan for you.

If symptoms become severe, such as having difficulty breathing, seek medical care immediately. If you need to see a healthcare provider, please call ahead to tell them you are a close contact of someone who is confirmed to have COVID-19 OR who has a respiratory infection. For medical emergencies, call 911 and notify the dispatch personnel. This will help the healthcare provider or first responders take steps to protect themselves from infection.

According to CDC, risk for severe illness from COVID-19 increases with age and even moreso for those who are immune-suppressed or have underlying health conditions such as heart, kidney or lung disease, obesity, or diabetes. If symptoms worsen, especially if difficulty breathing, seek medical care immediately.

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Exposure to Someone with COVID-19

If you are a household member or a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you should stay at home and away from others (quarantine) for 14-days after the last time you had close contact with the sick person.

Close contact is being within 6 feet of the sick person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period* starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to test specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.

*Individual exposures added together over a 24-hour period (e.g., three 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes).

You will be asked to quarantine for 14-days because that is the maximum time period from the day a person is exposed to an infected person to when symptoms appear for COVID-19. If you do not have any symptoms after the 14-day period, you can continue with your daily activities.

Download the Quarantine Guidance for Household and Close Contacts English | Spanish (PDF)

Please follow these guidelines for quarantine:

  • If you live with the person with COVID-19, separate yourself from the ill person (people) in the home.
  • Stay at home for 14 days after your last contact with the person with COVID-19, except to get essential medical care, prescriptions and food. 
  • Do not go to work (unless you work in an essential service* AND do not have any symptoms associated with COVID-19), school, or public areas (e.g., shopping centers, movie theaters, stadiums, etc.). 
  • If you work in an essential service* AND do not have any symptoms associated with COVID-19 and must go to work during the 14 days after your last contact with the person with COVID-19, you must wear a cloth face mask when you are within 6 feet of other people.
  • Do not use public transportation, including rideshares and taxis. Do not go on long-distance travel.
  • Call ahead before visiting your doctor and re-schedule all non-essential medical appointments.
  • Wash your hands and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Wear a cloth face covering when in public spaces to seek essential services such as medical care, prescriptions and food.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are touched often such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, and kitchen and bathroom fixtures.

*Essential Services were defined by Governor Ducey’s Executive Order 2020-12

During the quarantine, monitor your temperature** daily and watch for symptoms for 14 days after your last contact with the sick person. 


People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus and include:

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

Check the CDC website for the latest list of symptoms associated with COVID-19.

** Fever is defined as 100.4 °F (38 °C) or higher (for adults)

If you develop fever or any of the symptoms listed above:

  • Get tested for COVID-19 with a PCR or antigen (swab) test at a healthcare facility or other testing site.
  • See the Sick or Being Tested for COVID-19 section above and follow the guidance provided by the online questionnaire about “How long should I stay home?” and the Home Isolation Guidelines (PDF)
According to CDC, risk for severe illness from COVID-19 increases with age and even moreso for those who are immune-suppressed or have underlying health conditions such as heart, kidney or lung disease, obesity, or diabetes. If symptoms worsen, especially if you have difficulty breathing, seek medical care immediately.

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Testing and Follow-up Care

Diagnostic testing for COVID-19 is now widely available, and in many cases, there is no cost due to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. You can get tested whether you are currently experiencing symptoms or are concerned you were exposed to someone with the virus, even if you have no symptoms of illness. Visit our community testing page to locate testing in your area or call 1-844-542-8201 for more information about testing options and availability.

If you do not have a medical home or are uninsured, consider visiting a community health center if you need medical help. They will work with you to help you get access to a healthcare provider. Please call 602-253-0090 or look at the AACHC website for a health care center near you.

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Caring for Someone with COVID-19

Most people who get sick with COVID-19 will have only mild illness and recover at home with plenty of rest and lots of fluids. Care at home can help stop the spread of COVID-19 and help protect people who are at risk for getting seriously ill from COVID-19. 

Adults over 65 and people of any age with certain serious underlying medical conditions like lung disease, heart disease, or diabetes are at higher risk for developing severe disease from COVID-19 illness and should seek medical care as soon as symptoms start.

If you are caring for someone at home, monitor for emergency signs of worsening health, help prevent the spread of germs, provide symptom care, and understand time frames for when to end home isolation. Keep their healthcare provider’s contact information in a visible place for easy reference.

What should I look for when monitoring their symptoms?

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever or chills, cough, and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. Other symptoms to watch for are fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. Call their healthcare provider if the person you’re caring for seems to be worse, especially if showing any of these emergency warning signs:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

For medical emergencies, call 911 and notify the dispatch personnel that they have or are suspected to have COVID-19. This will help the first responders and hospital personnel take steps to protect themselves from infection.

How can I prevent the virus from spreading in the home to others?

Have the person stay in one room, away from other people, including yourself, as much as possible. If possible, have them use a separate bathroom. In addition:

  • Avoid sharing personal household items, like dishes, towels, and bedding
  • If facemasks are available, have them wear a facemask when they are around people, including you.
  • If the sick person can’t wear a facemask, you should wear one while in the same room with them, if facemasks are available.  If you do not have a facemask, you can use a bandana or scarf as an alternative.
  •  Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after interacting with the sick person.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Avoid having any unnecessary visitors.
  • Limit contact with pets & animals. You should restrict the sick person’s contact with pets and other animals, just like you would around other people. See COVID-19 and Animals for more information.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect all surfaces that are touched often, like counters, tabletops, sink handles, and doorknobs.
  • Wash laundry thoroughly. If laundry is soiled, wear disposable gloves and keep the soiled items away from your body while laundering. Wash your hands immediately after removing gloves.

How can I help them treat their symptoms?

There is no specific medical treatment for COVID-19. Most cases of COVID-19 are mild and people recover at home within a few days to a week. Make sure the sick person drinks a lot of fluids to stay hydrated and rests at home. Over-the-counter medicines may help with symptoms. Check with their healthcare provider if you have questions about the best course of care.

When can the infected person end home isolation?

See the Sick or Being Tested for COVID-19 section above and follow the guidance provided by the online questionnaire about “How long should I stay home?” and the Home Isolation Guidelines (PDF)

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