COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions
Keeping track of the latest COVID-19 information is a challenge. At Henry Ford Health, we want to be your resource. We’ve got answers to all of your coronavirus questions – from when and how to get a COVID-19 test, how long you need to quarantine if you’re exposed to the virus, identifying common COVID-19 symptoms, how Henry Ford has adapted our care to keep you safe during this time, and much more.
- Visit our Vaccine FAQs page for information on COVID-19 vaccines.
- What is the criteria for testing?
- Who decides criteria for testing?
- Where can I be tested?
- My work wants me to get tested, where can I go?
- Can Henry Ford Health provide return-to-work letters for people who are not current patients?
Symptoms, self-care at home
- What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
- Can I get sick if I haven’t met anyone infected with COVID-19?
- What is the incubation period after exposure?
- If I develop COVID-19 symptoms, how long do the symptoms last?
- What can I take to help with COVID-19 symptoms?
- How long will you test positive after getting COVID-19?
- Like the flu or a common cold, can you be infected again after recovering from COVID-19?
Exposure, isolation and quarantine
- How long do I need to self-isolate if I had COVID-19 symptoms and/or tested positive?
- What is the difference between isolation and quarantine?
- When do I need to isolate?
- When do I need to quarantine?
- How long do I need to self-isolate if I have been exposed and had symptoms, but they are now gone?
- If I have been exposed, but tested negative, do I have to remain in quarantine?
- If I live with someone who has/had the coronavirus, am I also going to get sick?
- If I’m traveling internationally by air, do I need to get a COVID-19 test before I come home? Should I quarantine or test again when I return?
When to seek medical help
- If I feel sick and need to see a doctor, what do I do?
- How do I know if I need to go to the hospital emergency department/call 911?
- How will I know if my breathing is severely affected?
Changes at Henry Ford Health with COVID-19 outbreak
- Are your hospitals restricting visitors?
- Are you screening visitors?
- Are you screening employees?
- Is it safe for me to deliver my baby at a Henry Ford Health hospital?
- Is it okay to pick up prescriptions?
- What should I do if I have an appointment and am experiencing flu or COVID symptoms?
What is the criteria for testing?
In Michigan, we want anyone who needs a test to get one. Anyone with signs or symptoms of COVID-19 should get tested, even those who are fully vaccinated or have already had COVID-19. There are many locations to get tested at no cost.
While Henry Ford Health has strict criteria on who can be tested at each Henry Ford location, there are other non-hospital healthcare facilities that provide testing. These sites can be found on the Michigan.gov website.
Who decides criteria for testing?
Where can I be tested?
State of Michigan Testing
To locate a State of Michigan COVID-19 testing site, please visit Michigan.gov. Established Henry Ford Health patients who have symptoms of COVID-19 can call their primary care provider for advice and next steps on how to get tested.
My work wants me to get tested, where can I go?
To locate a State of Michigan COVID-19 testing site, please visit Michigan.gov.
Established Henry Ford Health patients who have symptoms of COVID-19 can call their primary care provider for advice and next steps on how to get tested.
Can Henry Ford Health provide return-to-work letters for people who are not current patients?
We do not provide return-to-work letters for those we have not evaluated. Lab testing, including testing for COVID-19, is done based on clinical evaluation and will not be performed at the request of an employer for an employee to return to work. Healthcare systems are concentrating on caring for the most ill patients and may not be able to provide work and daycare clearance letters to people not currently under our care.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Common symptoms include 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 and/or diarrhea. If you have any of these symptoms, call your doctor and self-isolate from family until it is determined whether you have COVID-19.
Can I get sick if I haven’t met anyone infected with COVID-19?
Yes, it is possible. The virus can travel from person to person without causing symptoms in some people. One of those people could still infect someone, and that person could show symptoms. This is called community spread and is one of the reasons government officials recommend social distancing and mask usage.
What is the incubation period after exposure?
The incubation period is 2 to 14 days after exposure.
If I develop COVID-19 symptoms, how long do the symptoms last?
Symptoms can last from 7 to14 days for mild to moderate cases that do not require hospitalization.
What can I take to help with COVID-19 symptoms?
You can take Tylenol and over-the-counter cold or cough suppressants that contain guaifenesin or dextromethorphan. If these are ineffective, we recommend a virtual visit (e-visit, video visit, telephone visit) with your doctor since there may be prescription options. If you get COVID-19 and are at risk for severe disease, talk to your doctor as soon as you test positive about Paxlovid, a prescription antiviral medication, or treatment with monoclonal antibodies. Learn more about treatment options at Henry Ford Health.
How long will you test positive after getting COVID-19?
This may vary depending on the person and their ability to fight off the virus.
Like the flu or a common cold, can you be infected again after recovering from COVID-19?
Cases of reinfection of COVID-19 have been reported. In general, reinfection means a person was infected (got sick) once, recovered, and then later became infected again. Based on what we know from similar viruses, some reinfections are expected.
How long do I need to self-isolate if I had COVID-19 symptoms and/or tested positive?
Everyone who thinks they have COVID-19 or tested positive for the virus should stay home and isolate from other people for at least 5 full days. Day 0 is the first day of symptoms or the date of the day of the positive COVID test. After 5 days, continue to wear a mask when around others at home and in public.
What is the difference between isolation and quarantine?
ISOLATION is a term used to separate people already infected with COVID-19 from those that are not infected, while QUARANTINE is a term used for those that have been in close contact for a period of time greater than 15 minutes with someone that has COVID-19.
When do I need to isolate?
If you have COVID-19, you need to separate yourself from others so you don’t spread the virus. You should stay home, stay in a separate room of the house, avoid contact with other people in the house, don’t share personal items and wear a mask when you are in contact with others.
When do I need to quarantine?
According to the CDC, If you were exposed to COVID-19, wear a high-quality mask for 10 days and get tested on day 5. This recommendation is for everyone, whether you have been vaccinated or not.
How long do I need to self-isolate if I have been exposed and had symptoms, but they are now gone?
Once your symptoms are completely resolved -- meaning no fevers for 24 hours without a fever-reducing medication and zero symptoms for 3 days -- you may end your self-isolation.
If I have been exposed, but tested negative, do I have to remain in quarantine?
No, but we encourage everyone to continue wearing masks, practice social distancing, avoid public or private gatherings with large numbers of people and practice good hand hygiene. We also encourage those who meet the criteria to get tested for COVID-19.
If I live with someone who has/had the coronavirus, am I also going to get sick?
Getting vaccinated is the number one way to prevent getting sick or hospitalized with COVID-19. Additionally, following the CDC guidelines for social distancing and mask usage can lessen the likelihood of getting sick.
If I’m traveling internationally by air, do I need to get a COVID-19 test before I come home? Should I quarantine or test again when I return?
The travel restrictions are changing regularly. Please refer to this website for the most up-to-date information.
If I feel sick and need to see a doctor, what do I do?
If you have coronavirus symptoms like a fever that is 100.4 F or higher or chills /sweats, or TWO OR MORE new symptoms in last 3 days such as a fever, cough, shortness of breath, body aches, headache, sore throat, nausea/vomiting/diarrhea, or loss of taste or sense of smell, call your primary care doctor. If you are a Henry Ford Health patient, connect with your doctor by sending a message using MyChart. If your symptoms are severe or you are having difficulty breathing, call 911.
How do I know if I need to go to the hospital emergency department/call 911?
Most people can stay at home to recover from COVID-19. But, if someone is showing any of these signs, go to the nearest hospital emergency department or call 911:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion • Inability to wake or stay awake
- Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone
This list is not all possible symptoms. Please call your medical provider if any other symptoms are severe or concern you. If you call 911, tell them the person has/may have COVID-19. If you go to an emergency department, call ahead and tell them the patient has/may have COVID-19.
How will I know if my breathing is severely affected?
If your breathing is severely affected, it will be difficult to take a breath or you will feel short of breath. For example, if you are normally active, and you are out of breath climbing to the top of stairs for more than a few seconds, or if you’re out of breath doing housework or walking on flat ground for a block, your breathing has been affected.
Are your hospitals restricting visitors?
To help ensure the safety of our patients, team members and the communities we serve, temporary visitor restrictions may be in place at Henry Ford Health facilities. Please refer to our visitor restriction page for current information.
Are you screening visitors?
Visitors are being screened for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. Masks are required for all visitors in our facilities.
Are you screening employees?
To help protect everyone, staff entering any of our locations will complete screening questions.
Is it safe for me to deliver my baby at a Henry Ford Health hospital?
All Henry Ford Health hospitals are prepared to welcome and care for you and your baby. Our staff is following local, state, and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines and recommendations regarding caring for patients requiring obstetrical care. If you have questions, talk to your doctor or provider.
Is it okay to pick up prescriptions?
Yes, you can safely pick up prescriptions, but maintain a 6-foot space between you and other people. Use pick-up windows, curbside pickup or mail delivery if those options are available. You will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms and be required to wear a mask while in a Henry Ford Health Facility.
What should I do if I have an appointment and am experiencing flu or COVID symptoms?
Keep your appointment if you:
- Have flu or COVID symptoms.
- Have a recent COVID diagnosis or exposure and are being seen for flu, COVID or another urgent health issue.
If your visit is for a reason that can wait until your symptoms get better, please contact the office by phone or use MyChart to reschedule your appointment. You can also ask for a virtual visit, if available and appropriate. All patients and visitors will be screened for COVID symptoms when coming into the building. Masks covering the nose and mouth are required at all Henry Ford Health facilities.
What can I do to help protect myself from COVID-19?
The most important way to protect yourself from the virus is to get the COVID-19 vaccine and stay up-to-date on boosters. See this handy chart for vaccination and booster guidelines, then schedule your appointment using MyChart. You should also protect yourself by using these guidelines, recommended by the CDC to prevent the spread of COVID-19:
- Wear a mask indoors in public areas where the COVID-19 Community Level is high, even if you have been vaccinated.
- Stay 6 feet away from others and avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid poorly ventilated spaces and crowds
- Take a COVID test if you think you have COVID-19.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes
- Clean and disinfect surfaces if someone in your home is sick or after you have visitors in your home.
- Monitor your health daily for symptoms of COVID-19.
- Take precautions when you travel.
What you can I do to protect myself from subvariants circulating in our communities?
- Stay up to date on vaccines. If you are eligible for a booster, get boosted.
- Even if you had COVID-19 recently, get vaccinated and boosted – natural immunity does not provide enough protection against most subvariants.
- If you are immunocompromised, talk to your doctor about Evusheld, which is effective in preventing infection from COVID-19.
- Wash your hands often, wear a mask in indoor settings, and socially distance whenever possible.
- Avoid crowds and gatherings, especially in indoor settings.
- Get plenty of sleep, exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet.
- If you have COVID symptoms, stay home and test for COVID. If you are positive, stay home for at least 5 days to protect others and stop the spread of infection. Continue to wear a mask for 5 more days when you are around other people.