Frequently Asked Questions and Resources on COVID-19
Q: How do I know if I should get tested?
A: If you are feeling sick and have any of the following symptoms, you should get tested: cough, shortness of breath, fever, chills, headache, muscle pain, sore throat, or loss of taste or smell. If you think you’ve recently been around someone who had COVID-19 but don’t have any symptoms yourself, you might also consider getting tested.
Use this screening tool to learn more: https://mn.gov/covid19/for-minnesotans/if-sick/get-tested/index.jsp
Q: Is testing free?
A: Sometimes there are free testing events happening throughout the Twin Cities. Otherwise, most health insurance companies in Minnesota and public health care programs like Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare have waived copays, coinsurance, and deductibles associated with these charges. Talk to your insurance provider for more details. If you are uninsured you can apply for Medical Assistance specific to COVID-19 testing.
Where to get tested: https://mn.gov/covid19/for-minnesotans/if-sick/testing-locations/index.jsp
Free testing events: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/testsites/index.html
Q: What should I expect from testing?
A: Depending on the site you choose you may have to make an appointment ahead of time, you may just need to drive up in your car, or you may need to walk into the clinic. The actual test usually involves inserting a 6-inch long swab (like a long Q-tip) into your nose for 15 seconds and rotating it several times. The swabbing is then repeated on the other side of the nose to make sure enough material is collected. The swab is then inserted into a container and sent to a lab for testing.
Q: How long does it take to get results and what should I do while waiting?
A: It usually takes between 2 and 4 days for the test results to come back. If you get tested at your primary care clinic use your online portal such as “MyChart” for the fastest test results. If not, the clinic will contact you directly. In the meantime, you should self-quarantine to make sure you’re not exposing others to COVID-19. Self-quarantine means staying home, monitoring your health, and maintaining social distancing (at least 6 feet) from others at all times.
Q: What if I test negative?
A: Congrats! Even if you test negative, you can still test positive in the future. It’s important to continue to wear a mask in public, maintain social distance (at least 6 feet) from others, and wash your hands frequently.
Q: What if I test positive?
A: If you test positive for COVID-19 you should isolate at home, except to get medical care. This means staying in a specific “sick room”, away from others, and using a separate bathroom if available. You should avoid contact with anyone, including pets, and avoid sharing any items. This isolation can end under these conditions: At 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 become severely sick, your healthcare provider might provide different instructions. Isolation means missing work and avoiding caring for others. There are resources available to support you during this time.
CDC Guidelines on isolating if sick: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/isolation.html
MDH Resources for getting help: https://mn.gov/covid19/for-minnesotans/get-help/index.jsp
Mutual AID in the Twin Cities: https://twin-cities-mutual-aid.org/
More resources for the LGBTQ Community: https://www.familytreeclinic.org/info-center/lgbtq-covid-19-resources/
Information about your rights as a worker: https://www.dli.mn.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/Employer_and_employee_questions_related_to_COVID_19.pdf
Q: What if I can’t truly isolate because of my living situation?
A: Do your best! If you test positive for COVID-19 you should try to stay in a specific “sick room” away from others. If others have to have contact with you, you should make sure your nose and mouth are covered, preferably with a surgical mask. You should not share any items with anyone - including bedding, dishes, cups, toothbrushes, etc. If not sharing a room or space is not an option, keep as much space between yourself and others as possible. Talk to your doctor about your specific situation and make sure your roommates are on board with your plan.
Q: What’s the point of getting tested if there’s no cure?
A: COVID-19 is highly infectious. So if you get tested and find out you have COVID-19, you can take the proper steps to isolate yourself and avoid infecting others. Certain populations like older adults and people with certain pre-existing conditions are more at-risk of having severe complications due to COVID-19. Taking these precautions is the right thing to do to help keep your community safe!
Q: What exactly is contact tracing?
A: If you test positive for COVID-19 a public health worker will contact you and ask you who you’ve been in contact with and where you spent time while you were sick and may have spread COVID-19 to others. If you recently tested positive and you receive a call from an unknown number, pick it up! Everything you share with this worker is confidential and won’t be shared with others. The worker will then contact everyone on this list, tell them that they might have been exposed, and advise them to self-quarantine for 14 days to avoid spreading COVID-19 to others. Self-quarantine means staying home, monitoring your health, and maintaining social distancing (at least 6 feet) from others at all times.
CDC Contact Tracing Infographic: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/Contact-Tracing-Infographic-FINAL.pdf
Q: What is the Health Department going to do with my data?
A: If you get tested for COVID-19 or you are contacted via contact tracing, you might be worried about the government having access to your information. All this information is protected health information, meaning it is confidential and has to stay private.
Q: You said if I get COVID-19 I will have to isolate and if someone else is exposed they have to self-quarantine. What is the difference between self-quarantine and isolation?
A: Simply put, isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick. Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. Basically, isolation is very strict and is used when COVID-19 is confirmed. Self-quarantine is less strict but helps limit the spread of the disease when COVID-19 is not confirmed.
Page last updated on Monday, August 3, 2020.