What do I do if I’m sick?
If you are sick with COVID-19 or think you might have COVID-19, follow the steps below to care for yourself and to help protect other people in your home and community.
Monoclonal Antibody Therapy for COVID-19
Monoclonal antibody therapy can prevent hospitalization or death in high-risk patients with COVID-19 and are widely available in Florida.
- Treatment is free and vaccination status does not matter. If you are 12 years and older and are at high risk for severe illness due to COVID-19, you are eligible for this treatment.
- In clinical trials, monoclonal antibody treatment showed a 70% reduction in hospitalization and death.
- For high-risk patients who have been exposed to someone with COVID19, Regeneron can give you temporary immunity to decrease your odds of catching the infection by over 80%.
- Click here to find a monoclonal antibody treatment site.
For more information, call the Florida Department of Health Monoclonal Antibody Treatment Support Line: 850-344-9637.
Stay home except to get medical care.
- Most people with COVID-19 have mild illness and can recover at home without medical care.
- Take care of yourself. Get rest and stay hydrated.
- Stay in touch with your health care provider. Call before you get medical care. Be sure to get care if you have trouble breathing, or have any other emergency warning signs, or if you think it is an emergency.
- If possible, avoid public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.
Stay away from others
As much as possible, stay in a specific room and away from other people and pets in your home. If possible, you should use a separate bathroom.
Tell your close contacts that they may have been exposed to COVID-19. An infected person can spread COVID-19 starting 48 hours (or 2 days) before the person has any symptoms or tests positive. By letting your close contacts know they may have been exposed to COVID-19, you are helping to protect everyone.
Monitor your symptoms
Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, or other symptoms.
Follow care instructions from your health care provider.
Call ahead before visiting your doctor
If you have a medical appointment that cannot be postponed, call your doctor’s office, and tell them you
have or may have COVID-19. This will help the office protect themselves and other patients.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19, get tested. While waiting for test results, you should stay away from others, including staying apart from those living in your household.
Florida has many sites that are providing testing for COVID-19. You can find testing site locations in your area here.
If you are sick, wear a mask over your nose and mouth
You should wear a mask over your nose and mouth if you must be around other people.
You do not need to wear the mask if you are alone. If you cannot put on a mask (because of trouble breathing, for example), cover your coughs and sneezes in some other way. Try to stay at least 6 feet away from other people. This will help protect the people around you.
Masks should not be placed on young children under 2 years of age, anyone who has trouble breathing, or anyone who is not able to remove the mask without help.
Avoid sharing personal household items
Do not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other
people in your home. Wash these items thoroughly after using them with soap and water or put in the dishwasher.
Practice public health mitigation measures
The best way to prevent disease and illness is to practice tried and true public health mitigation measures.
Find more information about what to do if you are sick here.
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. Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms.
People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
This list does not include all possible symptoms. Read about COVID-19 symptoms.
The time between exposure to the COVID-19 virus and onset of symptoms is called the “incubation period.” The incubation period for COVID-19 is typically 2 to 14 days, although in some cases it may be longer.
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.
Monoclonal antibodies help the immune system recognize and respond more effectively to the COVID-19 virus.
Monoclonal antibodies are a treatment authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for use in adult and pediatric patients (12 and older) who have either been diagnosed or exposed to someone with COVID-19 and are at high risk for progression to severe illness, hospitalization, or death from COVID-19.
In clinical trials, this treatment resulted in a 70% reduction in risk for hospitalization and death, and resulted in an 82% reduction in risk for contracting COVID-19 for people who were exposed to the virus by other members of their household.
Monoclonal antibody treatment is most effective when given early and the sooner it is given the better. There is not a time limit to receive the medication, however it must be delivered prior to the occurrence of severe illness.
This treatment is available to all eligible people, regardless of vaccination status.
High-risk patients should get treatment as quickly as possible after testing positive for COVID- 19. Examples of medical conditions that may pose a higher risk for severe illness and could potentially benefit from this treatment include, but are not limited to:
- Older age (65 years of age and older)
- Individuals overweight
- Chronic kidney disease
- Immunosuppressive disease or treatments
- Cardiovascular disease
- Chronic lung diseases
- Sickle cell disease
- Neurodevelopmental disorders such as cerebral palsy
- Having medical-related technological dependence such as tracheostomy or gastrostomy
There is no cost for monoclonal antibody treatment. No one will be denied services due to inability to pay for administrative cost at State of Florida sites. However, insurance can be billed if available.
At the direction of Governor DeSantis, the Florida Department of Health and Florida Division of Emergency Management are working together to deploy mobile and stationary monoclonal antibody therapy treatment sites. Click here to find a monoclonal antibody treatment site.
To support Governor DeSantis’ initiative, there is currently a standing order in Florida signed by the State Surgeon General that allows patients to receive this treatment without a prescription or referral if administered by an eligible health care provider. Such referrals are not required at any of the State of Florida monoclonal antibody treatment sites.