COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions


Q. What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

A. People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • 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

When to seek emergency medical attention

Look for emergency warning signs* for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face

Call 911 or call ahead to your local emergency facility: Notify the operator that you are seeking care for someone who has or may have COVID-19.

*This list is not all possible symptoms. Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

Source: CDC.


Q. I tested positive for COVID-19. What should I do now?

A.  If you are sick or if you have tested positive for COVID‐19 without symptoms:

  • Stay home and stay away from others, even in your own home.
  • Stay home until after least 10 days since symptoms first appeared and at least 24 hours with no fever without fever‐reducing medication and symptoms have improved.
  • If you live with others, stay in a specific “sick room” or area and away from other people or animals, including pets, if at all possible. Use a separate bathroom, if available.
  • Notify your close contacts.

Q. What is a close contact? 

A. Close contacts of an ill person are typically:

  • individuals living in the same home;
  • individuals who have had close contact (within 6 feet of the ill person) for a prolonged period of time (for at least 15 minutes)
  • intimate partners;
  • individuals providing home care for an ill person without using recommended precautions;
  • individuals who have had direct physical contact with an infected individual (touched, hugged or kissed them).
  • individuals who have shared eating or drinking utensils with a close contact.

Q: What is quarantine?

A: Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. Quarantine helps prevent the spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms. People in quarantine should stay home, separate themselves from others, monitor their health, and follow directions from their state or local health department.

Q: Who needs to quarantine?

A: Anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 should quarantine.

Q: When should I start and end quarantine?

A: You should stay home for 14 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19.

Q: What do I need to do if I am in quarantine?

A: Stay home for 14 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19. Watch for fever (100.4 degrees F or higher), cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19. If possible, stay away from others, especially people who are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19. Follow directions from your local health department.

Q: What if I get a negative test showing I don’t have COVID-19?

A: Even if you test negative for COVID-19 or feel healthy, you should stay home (quarantine), since symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus. It could take days before the infection shows up on a lab test. A negative test does not release you from quarantine.

Q: What if I ended up having a repeat close contact with the person who is sick during my quarantine? What if I have contact with someone else sick with COVID-19? Do I need to restart my quarantine?

A: Yes. You will have to restart your quarantine from the last day you had close contact with anyone who has COVID-19.

Q: What if I live with someone who has COVID-19 and cannot avoid continued close contact?

A: You should avoid contact with others outside the home while the person is sick, and quarantine for 14 days after the person who has COVID-19 meets the criteria to end home isolation.


Q. What happens after you receive notification of a positive case?  

A. FCPH staff will call the individual who tests positive (this is usually done within the first 24 hours, however, due to the current sustained increase in cases in Fayette County it may take longer). An initial interview is completed and close contacts are obtained. We assist with employer work excuses and we also assess them for social support to determine if they will be able to meet all of their basic necessities under quarantine/isolation. From that point, we reach out to them at least every other day or daily.

Q. What is a close contact? 

  **See “Isolation and Quarantine”

Q. Who contacts the individuals that have been in close contact with the confirmed case? 

A: The health department from the county in which the case or contact lives in is responsible for reaching out to those individuals.   

Q. Are those individuals contacted once and that’s it? 

A. Contacts have the ability to decide if they would like to receive text updates from the state’s contact tracing system or have their local health district contact them. If we contact them personally, we reach out to them at least every other day if not every day. Due to an increase in case activity, contact frequency may be less often. If they choose the text monitoring, the text is sent out once per day and they report how they felt in the AM and PM. If the individual misses a day or starts reporting symptoms then we call every day to monitor or help decide about testing.


Q. Where can I get a COVID-19 test?

A. Contact your healthcare provider. If you do not have a healthcare provider, contact an urgent care. The Ohio Department of Health offers a list of testing centers on their website: ODH also provides pop-up testing throughout the state. When we are aware of a pop-up testing opportunity in our area, we will share that information on our website and Facebook. 

Q: What is the difference between a COVID-19 test and an antibody test?

A: COVID-19 tests are viral tests to check for a current infection with SARS-CoV-2. Antibody tests check for a past infection. More information is available at:

Q. Where can I get antibody testing?

A. Labcorp is one option.

Also, the American Red Cross offers antibody testing for blood donors. 


Q: If a person has more than one positive test, does every test count as another case?

A. Each person who tests positive is only counted once, regardless of how many times he or she is tested. After the first positive test, a case number is assigned.  If a person who has already been counted is tested again and that test is also positive, the new lab result is added to their assigned case number. This does not create a new case within the Ohio Data Reporting System (ODRS).

Q: If a person gets tested out of county, are they counted in that county or the county where they live? Or both?

A: COVID-19 cases are reported by the county of residence. Regardless of where an individual gets tested, they will be counted only by the county in which they reside. For example, if someone is tested at OSU but they live in Fayette County, OSU will notify Fayette County and the case will be counted in Fayette County.

Q: What is the difference between a “confirmed” and a “probable” case?

A: Confirmed – A lab has confirmed the presence of COVID-19 in an individual through the use of a viral test. Probable – An individual has presumptive laboratory evidence AND meets either epidemiological criteria or clinical criteria as established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Ohio Department of Health also classifies an individual who tests positive with an antigen test as a probable case.

Q. Are you counting antibody tests as cases?

A. Antibody tests are not counted as confirmed cases. An individual with a positive antibody test may be counted as a probable case only if that individual meets either the epidemiological or clinical criteria for a probable case and there is no more likely alternative diagnosis.

Q. Why is the number on your report different than the one on the Ohio Department of Health dashboard?

A: As the number of individuals being tested increases, there may be temporary differences in the numbers reported by a county versus the numbers reported by the state on the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) dashboard. Locally, we are currently only reporting 3 days a week, whereas ODH reports numbers daily. Also, ODH has a different “cutoff” time” for daily reporting so the data that we post will be the most recent at the time it is posted. Finally, during disease investigations, numbers can change due to a change in case status or jurisdiction. If a case changes jurisdiction, it will be transferred to the county in which they reside and the numbers for the affected counties will be adjusted on the ODH dashboard.

Q: What does it mean if a person is recovered?

A: Individuals are reported as recovered when they have discontinued isolation per CDC guidance, meaning the individual has been isolated for at least 10 days, has remained fever-free for at least 24 hours, and shows no other symptoms. Asymptomatic individuals are reported as recovered 10 days from the test date unless symptoms develop.

Q: Are the people who are counted as hospitalized actually hospitalized for the virus or could they be in the hospital for something else and then tested positive for COVID-19?

A: The cases that we report as hospitalized are confirmed cases who were hospitalized as a result of COVID-19 symptoms. 

Q. Are the people who are reported as hospitalized in Fayette County Memorial Hospital?

A: The report includes Fayette County residents hospitalized specifically for COVID-19 in any hospital. Hospitalizations are reported by county of residence, regardless of where the patient is hospitalized.

Q: Are the deaths that are reported actually COVID-19 deaths or do you report anyone who dies if they had a positive COVID-19 test?

A: We report deaths when COVID-19 is listed as the cause or a contributing factor on the death certificate. This is consistent with how COVID-19 deaths are reported statewide. The cause of death that is listed on a death certificate is determined by the coroner or medical director.

Q: If someone from Fayette County dies in an out of county hospital, where is that counted?

A: The death would be reported here. Deaths are reported by county of residence.

Q. Why are you no longer including the cumulative number of individuals monitored on your daily report?

A. Due to the increase in cases, our nurses are identifying, contacting, and releasing close contacts of cases continuously which has made it more difficult to provide the cumulative amount monitored on a daily basis. We have removed the cumulative number monitored from the report but we will continue to report the number of individuals being presently monitored as time allows.

Q. What is our county positivity rate?

A. ODH has indicated that they are working on making county-specific positivity rates available. That information has not been made available to us yet, but when it is, we will share it in our reports.

Q How many tests have been done? How many people have tested negative?

A. FCPH is only notified of positive tests, so we do not have information on how many people have tested negative or how many total tests have been completed. Testing and positivity rates for the state of Ohio can be found here:

To download a .pdf copy of the FAQ, click here.


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