The Health Department recommends getting tested if you develop symptoms at any time. People with COVID-19 may have a wide range of symptoms, including no symptoms at all, mild or moderate symptoms, or needing medical attention for severe illness. Even people with no symptoms can spread the virus to others. 

Symptoms can start 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus and might include:

  • Fever (100.4 °F or higher)

  • Cough

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

  • Chills

  • Fatigue

  • Muscle or body aches

  • Headache

  • Sore throat

  • New loss of taste or smell

  • Congestion or runny nose

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Diarrhea

See symptoms list in pictures (CDC)
Learn more on preventing COVID-19 

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If You Test Positive for COVID-19

If you test positive for COVID-19, isolate as soon as you receive your test result – even if you are vaccinated or never have symptoms. Isolation means staying home and away from other people for at least 5 days from the date of your positive test or the start of your symptoms, whichever is earlier. 

You can end isolation after day 5 if your symptoms have improved AND you have had no fever for at least 24 hours without the use of medicine that reduces fevers. This guidance does not apply to health care workers. Please check with your employer, school or childcare program to learn about their return from isolation policies.

If you are not able to isolate because of financial, care giving or other reasons, you can still lower the risk of getting other people sick by:

  • Wearing a well-fitting, high-quality mask, or a disposable mask under a cloth mask.

  • Limiting close contact with other people as much as possible.

  • Washing your hands often with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer.

  • Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces as much as possible.

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The Health Department's Pulse Oximeter Program has ended. 

Pulse oximeters are still available for purchase without a prescription at pharmacies and retail stores. 

A pulse oximeter is a small device that clips onto your fingertip to measure your pulse and oxygen levels. People with COVID-19 - or certain lung and heart conditions - can have lower than normal oxygen levels in their blood, even if they feel well or their symptoms are mild. 

Please consult your health care provider if your pulse oximeter reading is below 95%. 

Learn more about pulse oximeters (FDA)

More on testing
Find where to get masks, vaccines, tests and treatment at 

Guidance for Close Contacts

Close contact means being within 6 feet, for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period, of someone with COVID-19 while they are contagious. 

To determine if you were a close contact, consider time spent with someone with COVID-19 starting 2 days before they developed symptoms–or the date they tested positive if no symptoms–until they started isolation.

The Health Department recommends getting tested if you develop symptoms at any time – even if you are vaccinated or have recently had COVID-19. 

New! If you do not have symptoms but have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19, it is recommended to test five (5) full days after the COVID-19 exposure.

  • If you use an at-home antigen test and the result is negative, test again 48 hours later.

  • If you have a negative PCR or LAMP test, no follow-up test is needed. 

This guidance does not apply to health care workers. 

Find more on COVID-19 tests 

Treatment for COVID-19

Some people are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19. If you are age 50 or older or have a medical condition that may put you at risk, reach out to your health care provider to ask about treatment as soon as you get a positive test result.

Don’t delay—treatment must be started within days after you first develop symptoms to be effective.

People at higher risk should speak to their doctor about treatment even if vaccinated or experiencing mild symptoms. By getting treatment, you could have less serious symptoms and may lower the chances of your illness getting worse and needing care in the hospital.

Learn more about COVID-19 treatments and medications (CDC) 


Although most people with COVID-19 get better within weeks of illness, some people continue to experience new, returning or ongoing symptoms that can last months after first being infected. These post-COVID conditions are also known as long COVID, long-haul COVID or post-acute COVID.  As of July 2021, long COVID can be considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Please contact your health care provider if you are experiencing long COVID symptoms.

Learn more about the long-term effects of COVID (CDC)
Find help at COVID-19 Recovery Program (UVM Health Network)

Translated Videos and Factsheets

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