What do I do if I think I was exposed to COVID-19?

Some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from respiratory illnesses. 

Some people are at increased risk for severe illness from respiratory viruses. If you are concerned about a potential exposure, here is what you can do.


Watch for symptoms

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness:

  • 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

This list does not include all possible symptoms. Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease, or diabetes, seem to be at increased risk for developing more serious complications. Talk to your health care provider about any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

Children can also be infected with, get sick from, and spread germs and viruses.


When to seek emergency medical attention

If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone

This list is not all possible symptoms. Please call your health care provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

Call 911 or call ahead to your local emergency facility.


Get tested

If you are concerned about a potential exposure, you should talk to your health care provider and get tested for COVID-19.

If you develop symptoms of a respiratory illness, you should keep your distance, be evaluated by a health care provider, and get tested.

Authorized at-home over-the-counter tests do not require a prescription and are typically available online or at local stores.

Read the Surgeon General’s guidance for positive COVID-19 tests and confirmed exposure.


Talk to your health care provider about potential treatments

Treatments used for COVID-19 should be prescribed by a health care provider.

Veklury (Remdesivir) is an FDA-approved therapeutic that is effective as an early treatment against COVID-19:

  • This treatment is approved for patients who are hospitalized with COVID-19, or have mild-to-severe COVID-19 and have a high risk of progression to severe COVID-19.

Paxlovid and Molnupiravir oral antiviral treatment.

Respiratory swabs (nose and throat) are collected by a health care provider and sent to a private laboratory or one of the state public health laboratories for COVID-19 testing.

Many state-run and local testing sites are available throughout Florida.  Some testing sites require an order from a healthcare provider, and for an appointment to be scheduled in advance, though there are a number of sites that will test regardless of symptoms and without an appointment.

To find a testing site near you, click here.

The amount of time it takes to get your test results back varies. For information regarding your test, contact the testing facility that ordered or collected the test. The COVID-19 Call Center cannot provide results, or provide a status update.