Symptoms & Testing
If you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, follow the CDC's Isolation guidance and use their quick calculator to determine if you need to isolate and what other steps to take to prevent spreading COVID-19.
Symptoms of COVID-19 are fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, fatigue, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, congestion or runny nose, and new loss of taste or smell. People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported - ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure.
COVID-19 testing is available throughout New Hanover County through local healthcare providers, pharmacies, and other organizations.
When to Seek Medical Attention
If you have any of these emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to arouse
- Bluish lips or face
This list is not all-inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.
Call 911 if you have a medical emergency: notify the operator that you have, or think you might have, COVID-19. If possible, put on a cloth face covering before medical help arrives.
- Who should get a COVID-19 test?
If you have symptoms that could be COVID-19, you should test immediately.
If you have been around someone that tests positive for COVID but do not have symptoms, you should start taking precautions like wearing a face covering and test 5 days after your exposure.
Certain high-risk environments may require a test as a screening process.
Consider testing before you are going to be around someone that is at high risk of developing severe illness from COVID-19.
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
Free at-home COVID-19 tests are available for pick up at Health and Human Services, 1650 Greenfield Street, Wilmington, during normal business hours. Additionally, each household is eligible to order 8 free COVID-19 tests through the mail here. Test kits are also available for purchase at many local retailers such as pharmacies. For other testing options, please speak with your healthcare provider.
- What should I do after my COVID-19 test?
Steps to Take Immediately After Your COVID-19 Test
If You Test Positive for COVID-19 with No Symptoms
Begin isolation, day 0 is the day you take your test and day 1 is the first full day after you take the test. If you do not develop symptoms you may end isolation after 5 days. If you develop symptoms within 10 days of your test, the isolation clock resets to 0 on the day symptoms start.
If You Test Positive for COVID-19 with Symptoms
Begin isolation, day 0 is the day your symptoms start regardless of when you test.
- Stay home and stay separated from others in your home for at least 5 days.
- Wear a high-quality, well fitting mask if you must be around others in your home.
- Improve ventilation in the home, if possible.
- Use a separate bathroom, if possible.
- Do not share household items such as towels and dishes.
- Be aware of your symptoms and seek emergency medical care if needed.
- Do not travel.
- If you did not have symptoms, you can end isolation after day 5.
- If you had symptoms, you can end isolation after 5 days if you are fever free for 24 hours without medication and your symptoms are improving.
- If you experienced moderate or severe illness, or have a weakened immune system, isolate for 10 days or until advised by your medical provider.
Take extra precautions and wear a well fitting face covering for 10 full days after your positive test, or until you have two negative antigen tests, 48 hours apart.