COVID-19: What You Need to Know

COVID-19: What You Need to Know

The COVID virus is here to stay, and the situation can change quickly. To get the latest updates, go to the Centers for Disease Control’s special COVID-19 leaving site icon website.

Here you'll find answers to some frequently asked questions about COVID-19, how to protect yourself, and what to do if you are sick.

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a virus, but has some of the same symptoms as the common cold or the flu. Like other coronaviruses, it is airborne.  It spreads when you come in contact with a person who has the virus or touch surfaces the virus has settled on.

Who Can Get COVID-19?

Anyone can catch COVID-19, even if you're healthy. It spreads quickly. You are always at risk, and your actions can put others at risk. It's vital that you follow public health guidelines.

How Do I Know If I Have COVID-19?

Fever, dry cough and shortness of breath are all symptoms of COVID-19. You may also experience other cold and flu-like symptoms. You may feel tired, have an upset stomach or be congested.

If your symptoms are mild, you may get better on your own. In that case, you may not need to be tested, but it’s still important to avoid contact with others until you are well.

Where Do I Get Tested For COVID-19?

Calling your primary care doctor’s office is the first place to start. Your doctor can decide if you should be tested, order the test, and work with local health departments to find a testing location. You can also test yourself using an at-home test kit. The CDC offers 4 at-home test kitsleaving site icon Don't wait until you are sick — you can order them now on their COVID-19 website.

How Do I Keep From Catching COVID-19?

COVID-19 vaccines are now available for everyone 5 years and older. The CDC offers detailed information about the vaccinesleaving site icon Talk with your doctor to see if the vaccines are right for you.

Avoid contact with anyone who has the virus and things they’ve touched. Since people are contagious before they have symptoms, it’s hard to know if you are around someone who has the virus. 

You should also:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use hand sanitizer often throughout the day.
  • Try not to touch surfaces used by a lot of people, like door handles, light switches, phones, keyboards and flat surfaces. Disinfect those surfaces around your home often.

Read these tips on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other airborne viruses.

What Do I Do If I May Have COVID-19?

If you have symptoms, you can care for yourself by resting, drinking plenty of fluids and taking over-the-counter cold and flu medicine. If your symptoms grow worse, talk to a health professional. Start by calling your doctor’s office or urgent care center.

If your health plan has a virtual visit benefit, you can be seen by a doctor by phone, online or by video without leaving home. The doctor can write a prescription if needed and decide if you should go to a hospital.

If you are having trouble breathing or have bluish face or lips, get help right away by calling 911 or going to the nearest hospital ER.

How Do I Avoid Spreading It To Others?
  • If you feel sick, stay home. Do not go to work or school.
  • Call your doctor or an urgent care center so they can help you decide if you need more care than you can get at home. They'll also decide if you need testing.
  • At home, stay in a room away from others in your household. Don’t let others come in, and don’t touch shared surfaces.
  • If you are elderly or have a serious health issue that makes it easy for you to get sick, make sure to tell your doctor right away if you start showing symptoms.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more tips. leaving site icon 

Is Testing and Treatment For COVID-19 Covered By My Health Plan?

Like any other illness you might have, having health coverage means you can get the care you need. You may not be charged a copay or coinsurance to get tested, depending on your plan.

To check your benefits, log into your account at bcbsmt.com/member or using the BCBSMT app on your smart phone.

Sources: COVID-19, leaving site icon  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2023; CDC’s Updated Respiratory Virus Guidance: What to Do When You Are Sick? leaving site icon  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2024; About COVID-19 Vaccines, leaving site icon  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2023.

Originally published 3/23/2020; Revised 2022, 2023

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