COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Information for Individuals

Health by Design is closely monitoring developments related to the outbreak of COVID-19 and will be vigilant in following the recommendations of the CDC. This page was created to provide individuals with information and resources. For the latest information regarding COVID-19, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website.

FAQs About COVID-19

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How is COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Transmitted?
COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly through close contact from person-to-person in respiratory droplets from someone who is infected. People who are infected often have symptoms of illness. Some people without symptoms may be able to spread virus.

COVID-19 is a new disease and we are still learning about how it spreads and the severity of illness it causes.

What Are the primary symptoms and what should I do if I experience them?
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.

All symptomatic individuals must isolate at home to help control the spread. If you have symptoms, stay home and isolate yourself from other housemates for ten days from symptom onset. If possible, sleep in your bedroom and use a bathroom set aside only for the sick individual.

Get tested on day 3-7 of your symptoms. Each county has different testing availability and procedures. Click here to find your local health department and their current recommendations.
How can I prevent spread of the COVID-19?
We agree with the CDC that the best way to prevent spread of the virus is to follow everyday preventive actions.
  • Physical distance from others (staying six feet away from others)
  • Use a face covering or mask whenever you are in the company of others
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Should I get tested if I have symptoms of COVID-19?
Yes! If testing in your area is available. Day 3 of your symptoms is the best day to get tested. Anytime after day three and in the first week will give the best possibility of getting a true positive test result. Testing during the first two days of symptoms is likely to provide a false negative, so avoid getting tested too soon. There may not yet be enough viral particles to turn the test positive.

If testing is not available in your area, then stay at home and self-isolate for ten days. Call your doctor or go to an emergency room if you have worsening shortness of breath, chest pain, or mental status changes.

What are the types of tests and where can I get tested?
The tests for symptomatic people are either antigen tests or PCR or molecular tests. Antigen tests have a faster turnaround time, but a higher false-negative rate. PCR tests can take 3-10 days to come back depending upon lab capacity but are more sensitive tests. Both antigen and PCR tests are very specific, that means, if it’s positive, you can believe the test. Both of these tests are swabs of the nose, nasopharynx (deep in the nose), or oral tests. The tests can be done by a healthcare worker, the patient who is directed by a healthcare worker, or in some cases, at home with instructions.

Testing locations can be found using the links below.
What is the difference between quarantine and isolation?
Quarantine is for exposed but asymptomatic people. Isolation is for people who have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or who have tested positive for COVID-19 (whether or not they have symptoms). Both are methods of controlling the spread of the virus.

What are the main differences between ALLERGIES and COVID-19?
Without testing, there is no definitive way to tell the difference between ALLERGIES and COVID-19; however, these are the primary distinctions:
  • COVID-19 is highly contagious; allergies are not contagious
  • COVID-19 causes a fever; allergies cannot cause a fever
  • People with COVID-19 do not have the itchiness often seen with allergic rhinitis

I’ve had contact with someone who is COVID-19+, what should I do now?
First, determine if you count as a close contact by answering this question: Were you within six feet of the person for more than 15 minutes over the past 24 hours? If yes, you are considered a close contact, and you will need to quarantine for 14 days unless your local health department has adopted a shorter length of quarantine. Stay away from others during your quarantine. Check your temperature and watch for symptoms of COVID-19.
Should I get tested if I was exposed and am a close contact?
It depends on the recommendations of your local health department and testing availability. No matter the results of your test, after a close contact, you will need to stay in quarantine for 14 days. A positive test helps find other people who may now count as a contact because they were in contact with you.
I am COVID-19+, what should I do to help myself get better?
  • Do all the things that help your body to heal faster: sleep, rest, eat healthy foods, drink plenty of noncaloric liquids like water, herbal tea, and low sodium broth.
  • Order a pulse oximeter from and check your pulse ox 2-3 times a day. Check it at rest and also after moving around your room. Anything above 94% is ok. If you begin noticing a downward trend or are consistently below 94% or are short of breath with normal activity, call your doctor or visit an ER. Lying on your stomach can often help with improving oxygen delivery. Here is a video showing how to position yourself:
  • Sit up in a chair at least three times a day for 30 minutes. Being horizontal for too long can result in low blood pressure upon standing and dizziness.
  • Walk around your room once an hour while awake to prevent muscle loss and blood clots.
  • For fever or aches and pains, you can take acetaminophen (Tylenol) 1000mg every six hours. Keep maximum dose less than 4000mg. It’s ok to skip the middle of the night dose.
  • For cough, you can take over the counter dextromethorphan or guaifenesin as needed. Do not take a medicine with other combinations as it is very easy to overdose on acetaminophen. Ask your doctor if you have any contraindications to any of the above medications.
  • If you experience increasing shortness of breath, declining oxygenation, chest pain, or confusion, go to an ER for evaluation.

COVID-19 Self-Screening Tool

San Antonio Metropolitan Health District has set up a self-screening tool to help determine if you should be tested for COVID-19.

Take Screening