COVID-19 is an illness caused by a virus that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a new coronavirus that has spread worldwide. Symptoms can range from mild to severe illness. People can also be asymptomatic (no symptoms) and still spread the virus to others.
How does COVID-19 spread?
The virus is primarily spread from person to person. You can become infected from:
- Close contact (about 6 feet or two arm lengths) with a person who has COVID-19.
- Respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks.
- Touching a surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.
- Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands.
To learn if you are currently infected with COVID-19, a test called a PCR test (or viral test) is used.
If you test negative, you were probably not infected at the time your sample was collected. It is important to remember that a negative test does not mean you will not get sick. It means you did not have COVID-19 when your sample was collected, or you may have tested negative if the sample was collected early in your infection, and you may test positive later during your illness. You may also be exposed to COVID-19 after the test and get infected at that time.
Even if you have been tested and it was negative, you should get tested again if:
- You have symptoms of COVID-19.
- You have been in close contact with someone who has a confirmed or possible case of COVID-19.
- You were in a setting where you were exposed to a large crowd and people were not wearing face coverings or maintaining social distancing.
- You are planning to visit someone at high risk for COVID-19 illness, including people 65 years of age and older and people with serious medical conditions.
Photo identification (to provide test results) is required. You will not be asked about immigration status.
What if I test positive?
- Stay home and isolated away from others. Stay away from work, school, church, restaurants, markets and other public places.
- Immediately notify people you have had close contact with 2 days prior to getting ill or testing positive if you don’t have symptoms. Tell them to follow the guidance for people who had close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 on the next page.
- Get plenty of rest and stay hydrated.
- Ask your health care provider about pain and fever medication.
- Follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance available at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/ if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html.
If you share your home, don’t share COVID-19.
- Stay away from other people and isolate in a bedroom or other room in your household. Use a separate bathroom if possible.
- Wear a face mask when you are around others. People in your household should wear face masks as well.
- Wash hands frequently with soap and running water.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes or use a tissue — throw the tissue away after each use.
- Do not share personal items with others. This includes dishes, towels and bedding.
- Clean and disinfect all high-touch surfaces, including doorknobs, counters, refrigerator handles and cell phones — every day. Use household cleaning sprays or wipes according to the instructions on the labels.
Monitor your symptoms.
- Symptoms of COVID-19 include cough and shortness of breath. Other symptoms can include fever, chills, fatigue, body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea.
- If you have a medical appointment or need to leave your home for other services, wear a face mask and call the office you will be visiting to inform them that you have tested positive for COVID-19.
- If you have a medical emergency (including trouble breathing), call 9-1-1 right away and inform them that you have tested positive for COVID-19.
Know when it’s safe to resume normal activities.
- You can discontinue self-isolation after at least 10 days have passed since your symptoms began, at least 24 hours since your fever resolved without taking fever-reducing medications such as ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol), and as long as your other symptoms have improved.
- If you tested positive but did not have symptoms, you can return to your normal activities and end your self-isolation 10 days after your test was collected.
What counts as a close contact?
- You were within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more
- You provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19
- You had direct physical contact with the person (hugged or kissed them)
- You shared eating or drinking utensils
- They sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on you
What if I had a close contact with someone who tested positive?
- If you have had close contact with someone who has COVID-19, you are required (per NAC 441A.280) to maintain quarantine (stay home and away from others).
- The CDC continues to endorse quarantine for 14 days after your last close contact as the safest option to reduce the risk of spreading illness. However, according to new CDC guidance you may end quarantine after 10 days if you do not have any symptoms during this 10-day period. If symptoms develop at any time, you must isolate yourself away from others and get tested.
- After your quarantine period you should continue to limit your contact with others as much as possible, and always wear a face mask when you are around people who do not live with you.
- The state of Nevada requires people who have had close contact with someone who has COVID-19 to sign a Declaration of Self-Quarantine.
Monitor your symptoms for 14 days after your exposure.
- If you develop symptoms at any time, continue to separate yourself from others and get tested.
- Stay home, wash your hands frequently, wear a mask and stay at least 6 feet away from others.
- If you need medical care, make sure to let your provider know you are experiencing symptoms and had contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
For more guidance from the Southern Nevada Health District visit https://covid.southernnevadahealthdistrict.org/. Updates about COVID-19 are also available by calling the Health District’s Information Line at 702-759-INFO (4636) or 1-866-767-5038.