COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Up-to-date information about care and services

Covid-19 Vaccines

Vaccines

Learn about COVID-19 vaccines, including eligibility and how to make an appointment. 

Covid-19 Testing

Testing

Learn when, where and how to get tested for COVID-19.

Covid-19 Therapeutics

Therapeutics

Learn how to request treatments and therapy for people who are at a higher risk of severe illness.

Covid-19 Recovery

Recovery

Learn about Long COVID-19 symptoms and how to get a treatment plan tailored to you.

I think I have COVID-19. What should I do?

During this pandemic, feeling sick can be scary. If you have symptoms like fever, cough or shortness of breath, it is important to get tested for COVID-19. You should always contact your doctor with questions or concerns, but having test results will help with their recommendations for your care. If you have questions, please call our COVID-19 info line, 206.520.2285 or 855.520.2285

Your safety is our top priority

Our hospitals and clinics are doing everything possible to minimize the risk of infection to all patients and visitors at our facilities, however we cannot completely eliminate the risk of exposure from our staff or other patients. Whenever you enter a UW Medicine facility:

  • Assume you are at risk of exposure to another person with COVID-19 
  • Wear a mask at all times to decrease infection 
  • Maintain distance between yourself and others as much as possible 

We will continue our efforts to keep everyone in our community safe, and we need your help with these measures. Thank you for your cooperation. We encourage everyone to get vaccinated and boosted to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Answers to your questions about COVID-19

What is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing respiratory illness in people and others circulating among animals. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can evolve and infect people and then spread between people. Previous coronavirus outbreaks have included severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). COVID-19 is the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. 

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms of COVID-19 may include:   

  • Cough  
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing  
  • Fever  
  • Chills  
  • Muscle pain or body aches 
  • Fatigue 
  • Sore throat  
  • New loss of taste or smell  
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting or diarrhea  
  • Headache  
  • Congestion or runny nose 

Most people develop only mild symptoms. But some people, especially those with other medical complications, may develop more severe symptoms, including  pneumonia

How does it spread?

It appears to spread by people with the infection coughing and sneezing. 

That’s how infected people project moisture droplets. Those droplets are inhaled by other people. They also are moved to the eyes, nose or mouth by contaminated hands when you touch your face. 

This is how other respiratory viruses spread. We have a lot to learn about COVID-19, but it appears to spread the same way.

How do I keep myself, my friends and my family safe?

The most important steps to take are: 

  • Practice social distancing. 
  • Wash your hands frequently. 
  • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands. 
  • Stay home if you are feeling ill. 

If you experience symptoms, contact your doctor’s office. They will help you determine if you need to be seen and provide you with instructions for seeking medical care. 

Most importantly, please follow the advice of Public Health - Seattle & King County on what to do to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the community. 

Who is most vulnerable to COVID-19?

People at higher risk include:  

  • People 65 and older 
  • People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility. 
  • People with underlying health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, severe obesity, or heart, liver or lung disease. 
  • People who have weakened immune systems.  
  • People who are pregnant.  

People at higher risk of severe illness should stay home and away from large groups of people as much as possible. 

Frequently asked questions about care and services

I’m worried I have COVID-19. What do I do?

If you start to feel ill, try not to panic. Many people who get COVID-19 experience minor symptoms and do not need medical care. 

When you first start to feel sick, call your doctor for guidance and track your symptoms. You can contact your doctor by phone or MyChart, or use the UW Medicine On-Demand Virtual Care

If you still have questions, please call our COVID-19 info line at 206.520.2285 or 855.520.2285

If you have a mild case, you can get tested at the COVID-19 Testing Site at Harborview Medical Center or the COVID-19 Testing Site at UW Medical Center – Northwest and may be able to treat your symptoms at home. Staying home helps prevent you from exposing other people to the disease. 

You don’t need to go to the hospital unless you’re experiencing symptoms that could be a medical emergency. These symptoms include having trouble breathing, feeling a persistent pain or pressure in your chest, becoming confused or disoriented, or having your face or lips turn blue. If you can, have someone call the hospital in advance so they can prepare for your visit. 

Do I need to be tested for COVID-19?

You should get tested for coronavirus if: 

  1. You have any of the following NEW symptoms not explained by another known condition:  
    • 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 
  2. You have had close contact with someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19. 
  3. You have been referred for a test by a healthcare provider or state or local health department. 

Learn more about testing for COVID-19

If you’re interested instead in an antibody test, read more about antibody testing. The antibody test is not the same as a nasal swab test and does not check to see if you have a current COVID-19 infection. People who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should NOT get an antibody test. 

What steps should I take if I test positive for COVID-19?

If you tested positive for COVID-19, follow these steps to protect your loved ones and the community. These steps should also be followed if you haven't been tested but think you have it. 

  • Stay home except to get medical care. 
  • Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home. This is called home isolation. 
  • Call ahead before visiting your doctor or a hospital. 
  • Wear a facemask if you are sick if possible. 
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes. Use a tissue or your elbow, not your hand. 
  • Wash your hands often. 
  • Avoid sharing personal items, such as dishes, drinking glasses or towels. 
  • Clean all "high-touch" surfaces, such as doorknobs and light switches, every day. 
  • Monitor your symptoms and contact your doctor if you get worse. 
  • Get medical attention immediately if you experience any of these warning signs: 
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath 
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest 
  • New confusion or inability to arouse 
  • Bluish lips or face 

Detailed information about these steps can be found on the CDC's website

If you’ve tested positive for COVID-19 and need food or other assistance in order to isolate at home, go to Care Connect Washington | Washington State Department of Health to find support. 

How long does someone with COVID-19 need to be home in isolation?

How long to isolate yourself depends on several different factors.  

Detailed information can be found on the CDC’s website

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