COVID-19 Self-Isolation, Symptoms and Testing

This information outlines guidance that applies to the general Native community and to school and child/day care settings. Guidance may differ for those who work in highest risk settings such as a hospital, clinics, long-term care facilities or retirement homes.  Employees who have COVID-19 symptoms or test positive for COVID-19 should speak with their employer and follow any workplace guidance for return to work.

How long to stay home when ill:

If you're sick, stay home to prevent infection from spreading to others. Whether you test positive for COVID-19 or not, if you are experiencing symptoms you should stay home until:

  1. You have no fever, without the use of fever reducing medication, and
  2. Your symptoms have been improving for at least 24 hours or 48 hours if you have nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea.

Do your best at home to self-isolate to help prevent other household members from getting sick. If you need medical attention, do not hesitate to call your primary care provider or other help as required.

You may be contagious if you have any one or more of the following symptoms:

  1. Fever or chills
  2. Cough
  3. Shortness of breath
  4. Decreased or loss of taste or smell
  5. Any two or more of the following symptoms:
  1. Runny nose or nasal congestion
  2. Headache
  3. Extreme fatigue
  4. Sore throat
  5. Muscle aches or joint pain
  6. Gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting or diarrhea

After your symptoms have improved:

When you are no longer isolating at home, you should take the following additional precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses:

  1. For 10 days after your symptoms started: Wear a mask in all public settings including in schools and child/day care centers. Avoid non-essential activities that would require you to remove your mask, for example dining out, playing wind instruments, or playing high contact sports where masks cannot be worn safely.
  2. Avoid visiting anyone who is immunocompromised or at higher risk of illness, such as elders.
  3. Avoid non-essential visits to highest risk settings, such as hospitals and long-term care homes.

COVID-19 Testing:

It is important to remember that a COVID-19 tes t is only a snapshot of your health on the specific date and time the test was taken.  No testing is perfect, and a negative result does not mean you are not, or will not, become infected with COVID-19.

If you have symptoms and are at a higher risk of severe illness due to COVID-19, you should get tested and seek care as soon as possible.  This is because you may benefit from available COVID-19 treatments if you test positive.  A health care provider will determine if treatments are right for you.


 A reinfection is when a person becomes infected with COVID-19 enough time passes, and later becomes infected again.  A person is considered to have been reinfected if they test positive again 90 days or more after their first positive test.

It is very possible to become reinfected with COVID-19.  If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, even if you previously tested positive for COVID-19, go and get retested.  The risk for reinfection will vary based on demographic characteristics, medical and exposure history, risk and health, which are also known to be interrelated. 

While many people assumed that getting infected meant higher protection from future encounters with the virus, the latest wave of COVID-19 cases shows that reinfections are becoming more common with newer variants, contributing to second or even third infections. And as SARS-CoV-2 continues to evolve and infect people repeatedly throughout their lives, physicians are urging patients not to let their guards down.  We are learning through research that each subsequent COVID infection will increase your risk of developing chronic health issues like diabetes, kidney disease, organ failure and even mental health problems.

Available COVID-19 Treatments

New Yorkers who test positive for COVID-19 can now seek new treatments that help prevent severe disease.  COVID-19 treatments work best when you receive them as soon as possible after becoming sick, so it is important to get tested and talk to your doctor right away to find the treatment that is best for you.

Each of these treatments have proven to be effective against COVID-19 and are available throughout New York State.

There are currently two types of treatment options available:

  1. Monoclonal Antibody Treatment

Given as a preventative measure to those who are not COVID-19 positive but who have immune system issues or who are unable to receive the COVID-19 vaccine for other reasons.

Administration: Via intravenous (IV) drip or via injection (preventative).

  1. Antivirals

Given as soon as possible after positive COVID-19 diagnosis to help fight infection and shorten recovery.

Administration: Either via intravenous (IV) drip or swallowed orally (PO) as a tablet or capsule.

All treatments require a prescription. You should talk to your provider to see what is right for you.

If you test positive for COVID-19 and do not have a regular health care provider, you can find a treatment provider from a COVID-19 therapeutics locator.


New Yorkers 12 years or older who test positive for COVID-19 and are experiencing symptoms may be eligible for treatment. The FDA also recently approved the antiviral Veklury (remdesivir) for pediatric patients 28 days or older weighing at least 3 kilograms.

Oral antivirals can be given within 5 days of having symptoms.

Each treatment option has its own eligibility criteria and suggested use. That is why we urge all Indigenous populations in NYS to get tested as soon as symptoms begin and to reach out to their healthcare provider to seek treatment. Your healthcare provider can determine whether you are eligible and what treatment would be best for you.

Seneca Scientific Solutions - Urban Planning, Public Health Consulting




Creating healthier and safer communities through evidence-based practices!



 Cattaraugus NY 14719

 [email protected]