Frequently Asked Questions (COVID-19)

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When getting tested for COVID-19, confirm with the testing staff how and when you will receive your results.

Have a general question about COVID-19? Call the DHEC Care Line at 
1-855-472-3432 between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday-Friday.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

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. Symptoms of COVID-19 include but aren't limited to:

  • 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

Am I at higher risk for severe illness? (COVID-19)

COVID-19 can cause mild to severe illness. In most cases the illness will be mild, however, some individuals are at greater risk of severe illness. Older adults and people who have serious underlying medical conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, and/or chronic lung diseases, are at a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and should get vaccinated to protect themselves and others. Click here to learn more about individuals at higher risk for severe complications from COVID-19.

What does it mean to be a close contact of someone with COVID-19?

Close contacts are people that are exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19. People who think that they may have been exposed should consider the factors that make risk of spread higher or lower to determine whether to take precautions. People who know they were exposed should immediately start following COVID-19 exposure guidance.

I am a close contact to someone who tested positive for COVID-19. What should I do?

A person who is sick with COVID-19 is most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to others just before they have symptoms and at the beginning of their symptoms. That is why anyone who is sick should avoid contact with others and stay home unless leaving to get medical care.  It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose. That is why it is so important to wash your hands often.

I was a close contact to someone who is sick but not tested for COVID-19. What should I do?

If you were around someone while they had symptoms, like fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, you may have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus or another respiratory virus that causes similar symptoms, like the flu or the common cold. People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness, and symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms. If you think you may have been exposed to COVID-19, consider the factors that make risk of spread higher or lower. If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, visit DHEC’s COVID-19 Testing Locations page to find a testing provider near you.

I am caring for someone who has COVID-19. What should I do?

Getting your COVID-19 vaccine is the best way to protect yourself.

If the person is well enough to not need close care, they should stay in one room, away from other people. If possible, have them use a separate bathroom. Avoid sharing personal household items, like dishes, towels and bedding. If the person with COVID-19 needs to be around others, everyone should wear a face mask, if available. If the sick person can’t wear a face mask, you should wear one while in the same room, if available. Always wash your hands while caring for them, as well as frequently throughout the day.  At least every day, clean all surfaces that are touched often.  Avoid having any unnecessary visitors.  Monitor the person for development or worsening symptoms and if the person is getting sicker, call their healthcare provider.  For medical emergencies, call 911 and make sure to notify them that the person has COVID-19.

Should I get tested if I am not sick?

Fully vaccinated people with no COVID-19-like symptoms and no known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 don't necessarily need to get tested routinely. Testing is recommended if someone vaccinated or unvaccinated is considered a close contact to someone with COVID-19 whether of not they experience symptoms or feel sick.

*NOTE: You are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines when you have received all doses in the primary series and all boosters recommended for you, when eligible. Persons who do not meet the above criteria should follow the guidance for unvaccinated people.


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