Discharge Instructions for Viral Illness and Possible Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Discharge Instructions for Viral Illness and Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Your symptoms are being caused by a virus. One of the potential viruses you may have is the one that causes the novel Coronavirus known as COVID-19.  It is a viral illness that can cause fever, cough and trouble breathing.  Some people may have chills, muscle aches, runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, upset stomach or loose stool.

  • Most patients with COVID-19 have mild symptoms and get better on their own.
  • Your virus could also just be the common cold or flu.
  • If I was not tested:  COVID-19 testing may not have been done if you have mild symptoms.

Not every person who has symptoms needs to be tested.  Often, a positive test will not change what a doctor tells you to do to get better.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, but you were not tested, assume that you have it. Stay home and self-isolate.  See Precautions at home below.

When leaving UVA, you will be asked to wear a mask. You should wear it until you get home. 


When do I need to call the doctor?

  • You are well enough to go home and treat your symptoms by resting, drinking fluids, and taking medicines for fevers, cough, pain, etc. (follow all usage and warning information on the label when using non-prescription medicines).
  • Monitor your symptoms carefully.
  • Call your doctor if your breathing is getting worse (harder or faster than before or you feel like you are getting less air), chest pain, are unable to eat or drink enough, or severe vomiting, diarrhea or weakness or are getting sicker.
  • Some people start to feel worse in the second week of their illness, if you start to feel worse at any time in your illness, please call your doctor, who will tell you where to go to be seen.
  • If you can, put on a facemask before leaving home or before you enter the clinic or hospital.

Get medical attention right away if you develop emergency warning signs of COVID-19 such as
: trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or not able to wake up, bluish lips or face.


How will I get my test results?

  • If you had a COVID-19 test done, we may not have the results for a few days.
  • Please do not contact the clinic or hospital for results of this test.
  • You will be contacted by phone with your results.

Precautions at home

Follow these precautions while you wait for your test results or if you have symptoms but were not tested.

The virus is spread easily through tiny droplets when you cough or sneeze.  You should take these steps to help prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home and community.

1. Self-isolate at home

As advised by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we ask you to stay in your home and limit contact with others to avoid spreading this virus.

Stay home except to go to the doctor

  • ·Do not go to work, school, or public areas, except for getting medical care.
  • ·Avoid using public transportation (such as buses), ride-sharing, or taxis.
  • If you have an upcoming doctor appointment, call the office and tell them that you have COVID-19.


Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home.

  • ·Avoid touching other people, including handshaking
  • ·As much as you can, stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home.
    • You should also use a separate bathroom, if available.
    • ·Avoid sharing personal household items.
      • You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, toothpaste, or bedding with other people or pets in your home.
      • After using these items, they should be washed well with soap and water.
    • ·Do not handle pets or other animals while sick.


2. Clean and disinfect

Clean all “high-touch” surfaces every day.

  • ·High-touch surfaces include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables.
  • ·Clean any surfaces that may have blood, stool, or body fluids on them. Use a household cleaning spray or wipe, according to the label instructions.   
    • Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product including precautions you should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good air flow in the room during use of the product.

Wash laundry.

  • ·Remove and wash clothes or bedding that have blood, stool, or body fluids on them and then wash your hands right away. 


3. Help stop the spread

Clean your hands often.

  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your
    hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry.  


  • ·Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Wash your hands after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom, and before eating or preparing food.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Cover your coughs and sneezes.

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Throw used tissues in a lined trash can; clean your hands right away.

Wear a facemask

  • You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) or pets and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office.


4. Notify your close contacts

  • People that you live with should self-isolate for 14 days AFTER your self-isolation period ends.
  • Other close contacts such as caretakers and intimate partners should self-isolate for 14 days AFTER your last contact with them.
  • Your close contacts should self-monitor for symptoms by checking their temperature twice a day and watching for fever, cough, or shortness of breath. They should contact their doctor if they develop symptoms of COVID-19.
  • They should also clean hands often and avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • They should wear a mask if they have to be in the same room as you if  you are not able to wear one.

When can I stop precautions at home?

Positive test results

If your result is positive, or if you were not tested:

You can stop self-isolation when all of these things have happened:

  • ·You have had no fever for at least 24 hours (that is one full day of no fever without the use of medicine that reduces fevers)


  • ·Other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved)
  • ·At least 10 days have passed since your symptoms first started.

If you have either been hospitalized with severe COVID-19 disease or you are immunocompromised (have a decreased ability to fight infection), you may spread the virus for a longer period of time after recovery. 

  • Please continue self-isolation for 20 days.
  • You may need to have 2 negative tests before precautions are stopped. 
  • Your doctor will let you know if additional isolation and/ or retesting is needed. Retesting for all others is no longer recommended.

If you never develop symptoms, isolation and other precautions can be discontinued 10 days after the date of your first positive test.


Negative test results

If your result is negative, you should continue to practice all the protective measures recommended to keep yourself and others free from illness.

  • You probably were not infected at the time your specimen was collected.
  • A negative test result does not mean you won’t get sick later.
  • It is possible that you were very early in your infection at the time of your specimen collection and that you could test positive later, or you could be exposed later and then become sick.
  • Contact your doctor if you start to feel worse.


Manage your stress and anxiety

  • Being ill can be stressful or cause anxiety. Remember that everyone reacts differently to stressful situations.
  • Being ill with COVID-19 might be especially stressful because it is a new disease and there is a lot of news coverage. Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media.
  • People with preexisting mental conditions should continue their treatment and be aware of new or worsening symptoms.
  • If you, or someone you care about, are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety, call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Disaster Distress Helpline: 1.800.985.5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746. (TTY 1.800.846.8517)


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