COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

What are the symptoms?

People with COVID-19 may experience a range of symptoms that can appear 2 to 14 days after exposure:

  • Cough.
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
  • Fever, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, loss of taste or smell.
  • Congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea and fatigue.

What should I do if I have COVID-19 symptoms?

If you have symptoms of illness, contact your medical provider. If you do not have a medical provider, call 2-1-1 to get assistance on where to go.

If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face
How does it spread?

Can I get COVID-19 from a surface or object?
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person to person, mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Respiratory droplets cause infection when they are inhaled or deposited on mucous membranes, such as those that line the inside of the nose and mouth  Spread is more likely when people are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet). People who are infected but do not show symptoms can also spread the virus to others.  

 *Updated CDC information on How COVID-19 Spreads

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this isn’t thought to be the main way the virus spreads. The primary form of transmission is from person to person. For this reason the best prevention method is to avoid close contact with individuals who are not part of your immediate household.

Who can get tested?

Should I be tested for COVID-19?

Will my insurance cover testing and treatment for COVID-19?

What should I do if I have confirmed or suspected COVID-19 disease?

Anyone can get tested. However, healthcare providers and local testing sites are focusing on people with symptoms of COVID-19. While testing supplies are still limited, they are also prioritizing certain groups of people at this time. See our guidance to healthcare providers (PDF) to learn more.

If you have any symptoms consistent with COVID-19, or believe you may have been exposed to COVID-19, call your healthcare provider or find a local testing site here to get tested. 

Most health insurance plans will cover testing and treatment for medically necessary services related to COVID-19. Commissioner Kreidler has ordered all state-regulated health plans to waive copays, coinsurance and deductibles for people requiring testing ( This waiver only applies to testing. Copays and deductibles may still apply if you need treatment.

If you are sick and have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or suspected to have COVID-19, follow the steps here from CDC to help prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home and community.
What is the treatment for COVID-19?There is no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 can seek medical care to help relieve symptoms.
Why should I wear a mask?

Am I required to wear a mask?
Face coverings are an additional tool we can use to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our community. They protect others by blocking droplets that contain the virus from spreading to others when someone with the infection coughs, sneezes, or speaks.

Yakima County residents are directed to wear face masks in indoor and outdoor public settings where you may be within 6 feet of someone who does not live with you. Residents are asked to comply in order to educate, encourage and persuade others to wear face coverings. By wearing face coverings, you are protecting others and they are protecting you from possible exposure to COVID-19. There is no penalty for not wearing a mask. For more information, check out our mask directive summary page.

What is the current state of COVID-19 in Washington and Yakima County?

COVID-19 case and death counts are updated daily on our data summary webpage.

For statewide information on COVID-19, visit the Washington State Coronavirus Response website.

How can I prevent the spread of COVID-19?You can prevent the spread of COVID-19 by following the Health Officer’s Mask Directive and wearing a face mask in public spaces where it is hard to maintain 6 feet distance from others. Practice good personal health habits such as covering your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, washing your hands often with soap and water, cleaning frequently touched surfaces and objects, and staying home when you’re sick.
How can people protect themselves?
  • Stay home as much as possible
  • Wear a face cloth when making essential trips.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid large events and gatherings if possible.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces.
  • Stay at home and away from others if you are sick.

What should I do if I had close contact with someone who has COVID-19?Close contacts should stay home, monitor their health, and call their healthcare provider right away if they develop symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 (e.g., fever, cough, shortness of breath).
What should I do if someone in my house gets sick with COVID-19?
Individuals with sick household members should follow the same precautions as close contacts AND CDC’s recommendations for household members, intimate partners, and caregivers.

What is the risk of my child becoming sick with COVID-19?

Based on available evidence, children do not appear to be at higher risk for COVID-19 than adults. While some children and infants have been sick with COVID-19, adults make up most of the known cases to date. You can protect your child from a COVID-19 infection by encouraging them to follow good hygiene practices and keeping them home.

How can I protect my child from getting COVID-19?

You can encourage your child to help stop the spread of COVID-19 by teaching them to do the same things everyone should do to stay healthy.

  • If possible avoid taking your child out in public.
  • Clean hands often using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid people who are sick
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces daily in household common areas
  • Launder items including washable plush toys as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Children older than 2 years of age may also wear a mask with adult supervision.

How does COVID-19 testing happen?Healthcare providers order the tests. A designated public health or FDA approved lab processes the test samples and reports results to the medical provider and the WA Department of Health. The WA Department of Health then reports test results to the Health District.
What is included in the statewide closure of non-essential services? 

When can my business open?

For information on what businesses may remain open, visit the Washington State Coronavirus Response Website.

Review the Safe Start Washington Phased Reopening County-By-County Plan and find out which phase applies to your business. You must wait until Yakima County enters that phase before your business can open.

Where can I get resources (social media, flyers etc.) to share within the community around Stop the Spread of COVID-19?
Yakima Health District’s recently launched a dual-language online toolkit and website created for community organizations. The toolkit includes flyers, social media images, recommended posts, talking points, and a video to share.

Page updated on 11/15/2020