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FAQs: COVID-19 Symptoms, At-home Tests & More

I have COVID-19 symptoms, should I get a test?

If you have symptoms, you should be tested.

  • You can self-test using an at-home kit. You can buy the kits at local pharmacies, or you can order them for free here: https://www.covidtests.gov/
  • As of June 25, 2022, the Vermont Department of Health is closing all their test sites and encouraging Vermonters to test at-home
  • If an at-home test isn't an option, outreach your primary healthcare provider or a local pharmacy for other types of testing
  • The Emergency Department is not a public COVID-19 testing site

What is the difference between isolation and quarantine?

Isolation is for people who have tested positive for COVID-19. Quarantine is for people who might have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. Both mean staying away from others for a specified time, as outlined by the CDC.

What does it mean to be in “close contact” with someone who has COVID-19?

Close contact means being within six feet of an infected person for 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. The 15 minutes do not need to be at the same time. For example, three separate five-minute exposures over the course of a day would total a 15-minute exposure.

I’ve been exposed, what should I do?

As experts learn more about the virus, the guidelines for quarantine and testing have changed. Review the current guidance from the Vermont Department of Health and the CDC for next steps.

What if my child, who attends public school, is exposed to or gets COVID-19?

State guidance exists for Vermont public schools, but policies may vary by school. Call your child’s school to understand their specific policies on quarantining after a possible exposure.

Who is at high-risk for severe COVID-19?

Those at high-risk include:

  • Cancer patients
  • Organ transplant recipients
  • Patients taking immunosuppressant medications
  • Anyone ages 65 or older
  • People with chronic medical conditions, such as lung, kidney or liver disease, diabetes, HIV, obesity and other conditions

Review the CDC guidelines for additional high-risk medical conditions and speak with your doctor about any concerns.

I was exposed to COVID but my test was negative, what should I do now?

  • If you tested negative with an at-home test, follow the current guidelines related to quarantine and other testing
  • If you develop symptoms, you should test again and contact your primary care provider
  • If an at-home test is negative and you have symptoms, contact your primary care provider for further guidance and possibly a referral for PCR testing

I tested positive for COVID-19 using an at-home test. Do I need to get a PCR test?

If you test positive using an at-home testing kit (antigen test), you likely have COVID-19. Contact your primary care provider and isolate at home immediately. Tell your close contacts that you have COVID-19 so they can follow current guidelines for quarantine and testing.

I tested positive, and I’m NOT high risk for severe COVID-19; what should I do next?

Contact your primary care provider as soon as possible to discuss treatment.

I tested positive, AND I’m high-risk for severe COVID-19. What should I do next?

Call your primary care provider’s office. If you are high-risk for severe COVID-19 and are within your first 10 days of symptoms, your provider may refer you for outpatient COVID-19 treatment. Referral is required and supply is limited.

What sort of treatments are available for a high-risk person with COVID-19?

The Vermont Department of Health website provides excellent information about antiviral and monoclonal antibody treatments for COVID>>>

Please note: outpatient therapies for COVID-19 treatment are NOT available at the Emergency Department. If you are eligible, your primary care provider will refer you to an infusion clinic.

Pfizer’s Paxlovid, an oral antiviral medications with emergency use authorization from the FDA for qualifying patients, is available by prescription only at the RRMC Pharmacy.

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