COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

What are the symptoms?Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. These symptoms appear 2-14 days after exposure.
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?

COVID-19 spreads between people who are in close contact with one another (within 6 feet) through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Touching your nose, eyes, or mouth after being around someone sick with COVID-19 is also a possible but unlikely way to become infected. It may also spread by touching a surface or object with the virus on it.

Should I be tested for COVID-19?

Call your healthcare provider to discuss whether you should be tested for COVID-19 if:

  • You have a fever, cough or shortness of breath AND
  • You’re at high risk for complications. Those at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 include:
    • People with weakened immune systems from medical conditions or medical treatment.
    • Adults over age 60.
    • Pregnant women.

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.
Should I wear a mask when I go out in public?The CDC does not recommend healthy people wear masks to prevent respiratory illnesses including COVID-19. You should only wear a mask if you have symptoms of illness, are providing care to those who are infected with COVID-19, or if a healthcare professional recommends it.
What travel advisories are recommended?Non-essential travel should be avoided. If you must travel, check CDC’s travel page for the latest guidance on traveling. 
How can I be prepared for a COVID-19 Outbreak?

Here is what you can do to prepare for a COVID-19 outbreak:

  • Find local reliable information
  • Know the signs and symptoms
  • Know what additional measures those at higher risk should take
  • Implement steps to prevent illness in your family
  • Create a household plan
Stay informed about emergency operations plans for schools/workplaces of household members
What is the current state of COVID-19?For the most current information on COVID-19, visit Washington State Department of Health website.
How can I prevent the spread of COVID-19?You can prevent the spread of COIVD-19 by practicing 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?
  • 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 do I do if COVID-19 starts spreading in my community?

Stay informed with local COVID-19 activities through your local health department and continue to protect yourself by following the recommended precautions. 

For more information, visit Washington State Department of Health website

What is a confirmed case? A person with WA Department of Health Laboratory confirmed case of COVID-19 infection.
Will my insurance cover testing and treatment for COVID-19?

Commissioner Kreidler has ordered all health plans his office regulates to waive copays and deductibles for people requiring testing ( for COVID-19. If you are unsure what type of health plan you have, you should contact your employer’s HR department.

This waiver only applies to testing for COVID-19. Copays and deductibles will still apply if you need treatment.

If you do not test positive for COVID-19, you may need to meet your deductible and pay a copay.
What if I don’t have health insurance?If you don’t have health insurance, contact the Washington Health Benefit Exchange ( to find out if you qualify for free health coverage ( or a special enrollment for individual health insurance.
What supplies should I stock up on for COVID-19?It is generally recommended for household to have emergency supply kits in case of emergencies.
Recommended supplies include:
  • First Aid Kit
  • Adequate supply of your prescription medications
  • Nonperishable food
  • Bottled water (if you don’t have access to safe drinking water)
  • Nonprescription medicine
  • Hygiene supplies 
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 I have confirmed or suspected COVID-19 disease?If you are sick and have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or suspected to have COVID-19 because you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, follow the steps here from DOH to help prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home and community.
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.

Who can get tested for COVID-19?

There are currently no restrictions on who can be tested on COVID-19. Until testing supplies and laboratory capacity are widely available, public health is asking providers to prioritize:

  • Patients hospitalized with severe lower respiratory illness
  • Patients working in healthcare and public safety occupations
  • Patients who live or work in a congregate setting
  • Patients who work in critical infrastructure occupations

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.

How can I protect my child from getting COIVD-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.

  • 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.

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? 

The ban includes, but is not limited to:

  • Dine-in restaurants
  • Bars and nightclubs
  • Entertainment venues
  • Gyms, fitness studios, recreational facilities
  • Public events and gatherings
  • Convention Centers
  • Hair and nail salons

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

Page updated on 03/25/2020