Frequently Asked Questions

Taking Care of Sick People

What should I do if I am ill with COVID-19?

If you are ill with COVID-19 you should stay home except to get medical care, prohibit any visitors, and separate yourself from family members and common areas as much as possible. If you need to be around other people you should wear a face mask, and you should avoid sharing household items. Monitor your symptoms, and if they start to get worse call your doctor before going in to be seen.

How can other household members be protected?

Sick people should not care for infants or other people at high risk for complications of COVID-19.

The sick person should stay in a room separate from family members and away from the common areas of the house. For example, a spare bedroom with its own bathroom, if possible. Keep the bedroom door closed. If it is not possible to separate the sick family member from the rest of the household, all household members should be wearing a mask inside the home.

If possible, sick persons should use a separate bathroom. This bathroom should be cleaned daily with regular household disinfectant.

Other household members, especially those at high risk for complications of COVID-19, should not come within six feet of the person who is ill.

Have the sick person wear a facemask, if available and tolerable, if they need to be in a common area of the house near other persons.

All persons in the household should clean their hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub frequently, including after every contact with the sick person or the person’s room or bathroom.

Use paper towels for drying hands after hand washing, or have separate cloth towels for each person in the household. For example, have different colored towels for each person.

Maintaining good ventilation in common areas of the house (e.g., keeping windows open in restrooms, kitchen, keep vent going in bathroom, etc.).

I am responsible for caring for family members or relatives. How can I help them if they have COVID-19?

Follow the above recommendations as much as possible.  If the person requires minimal assistance and you will not have much contact with them, you can offer to purchase groceries or help with getting prescriptions.  Consider delivery as a safer option for these activities.  Also, you can care for the family member’s pet to reduce transmission in the home.  However, keep in mind that you should follow quarantine guidelines if exposed to someone with COVID-19 unless you are up to date on your COVID-19 vaccinations.  

If the person requires more care, both you and the sick family member should wear a mask during care.  Limit to one caregiver as much as you can.  While providing care, do not spend long periods of time with them.  Have their primary care provider’s phone number accessible in case their symptoms worsen or if you have any concerns. If the person starts showing serious symptoms, such as increased difficulty breathing, chest pain, confusion, an inability to stay awake, or pale, gray, or bluish skin, call 911.  Also monitor yourself for symptoms and isolate if they develop.

For more information on how to care for someone at home with COVID-19, visit the CDC website:

Can I get COVID-19 from my pet?

While there have been cases of COVID-19 in animals, it is not likely that COVID-19 will be transmitted to you from your pet.  It is more likely, although not common, for it to be the other way around.  It is safest for a family member who is not ill to care for the pet until the sick family member has recovered.  If your pet gets sick, follow instructions from your veterinarian on how to care for them.  We are still learning about how COVID-19 affects animals, so the recommendations may change as we get new information.