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COVID-19 Symptoms, Testing & Treatments

Updated 10/15/21

What are COVID-19 symptoms?

Symptoms usually appear gradually 2 to 14 days after exposure. Some people have had only mild symptoms while others have become severely ill. The CDC's list of symptoms include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, sore throat, new loss of smell and taste, and congestion or runny nose. Some patients may have digestive issues such as loss of appetite or diarrhea. Severe symptoms include trouble breathing; persistent pain or pressure in the chest; new confusion; inability to wake or stay awake; and pale, gray or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone. This list is not all possible symptoms. If you have these or other symptoms that are severe or concern you, you should get medical attention immediately.

What should I do if I think I'm sick with COVID-19?

If you have mild symptoms, there may be no need to see a doctor. If you are feeling sick and think you might have COVID-19, contact your primary care doctor by phone or email first before going in. Your doctor’s office will decide the next steps for your care. If you are elderly, have underlying health conditions or are pregnant, you may be at higher risk of serious illness and should contact your doctor early if you are sick. Call 911 if you are having a medical emergency. This information was obtained from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH).

In addition, if you are mildly sick, the CDC and LACDPH have issued guidelines on what to do to help prevent the spread to others. Visit the CDC website for more information. The LACDPH has provided downloadable PDFs with information about staying home and home isolation. Call your doctor if you are concerned and/or your symptoms worsen.

If you are coming to Valley Presbyterian Hospital's Emergency Department or another entrance, and you have a fever, cough or problems breathing, please call ahead beforehand or let our care team know immediately upon arrival so that we can safely provide appropriate care. Please be advised that Valley Presbyterian Hospital has revised its visitor policy. More information is on our COVID-19 portal page.

Where can I get tested for COVID-19?

The City of Los Angeles is providing free COVID-19 testing to all Los Angeles County residents, whether or not you are experiencing symptoms. Priority is given to people with symptoms. For more information visit the City of Los Angeles COVID-19 Testing page.

Are there treatment options available?

Most people with the virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without needing special treatment. Treatments are available depending on the severity of the case, medical condition and medical history.

Monoclonal Antibody Treatments

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the FDA has issued Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) for the outpatient monoclonal antibody treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 in non-hospitalized patients with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infection who are at a high risk for progressing to severe disease and/or hospitalization.

Visit the NIH website for more information about monoclonal antibody treatments.

Two of these treatments are available through the FDA. The third is by state-coordinated distribution and as of September 15, 2021, California is on the list as authorized by the FDA to administer Bamlanivimab (BAM) and Etesevimab (ETE).

Visit the Public Health Emergency (PHE) website more information and a full list of states currently authorized.

According to NIH data, during a double-blind study of outpatients with mild to moderate COVID-19, there was a 4.8% absolute reduction and a 70% relative reduction in COVID-19 hospitalizations or deaths from any cause among the participants who received BAM plus ETE compared to those who received a placebo.

Visit the NIH website for a table comparison on monoclonal antibody treatments.

Visit the NIH website for statements on treatment guidelines for BAM plus ETE.

Visit the NIH website for statements and treatment guidelines for Casirivimab plus Imdevimab.

Antiviral Treatments

On October 1, 2021, Merck/Ridgeback Biotherapeutics announced it is submitting an application for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to the FDA for molnupiravir, an oral antiviral drug that in a global study showed 50% reduction in hospitalization and death against early-stage infections from COVID-19 and its variants. The research and development was funded in part by the NIH and Drug Innovation Ventures at Emory University (DRIVE). The U.S. government has already agreed to purchase 1.7 million courses of the treatment. It may be limited initially to people who are over 60 with underlying medical conditions. Merck expects to produce 10 million courses of treatment by the end of 2021.

Visit the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) website for more information about molnupiravir.

Click here for more information about the molnupiravir EUA.

Clinical Trial of Repurposed Drugs

In addition, the NIH supports testing the effectiveness of existing drugs – repurposing drugs approved for other conditions - as potential at-home treatments to reduce the duration and severity of symptoms associated with mild to moderate COVID-19. A large ACTIV-6 clinical trial is underway to study Ivermectin, Fluvoxamine and Fluticasone.

Visit the NIH website for more information about repurposed drugs.

Click here for more information about the ACTIV-6 clinical trial.

Where can I get up-to-date information?

The information on this page has been obtained from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIAID), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. You may check back here as we periodically update this information.

Our Resources page also has links to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, City of Los Angeles, and World Health Organization for up-to-date information locally, nationally and worldwide.

The information on this page is provided for general, informational purposes and not personalized medical advice. Please contact your health care provider for medical advice specific to your situation. If you are having a medical emergency please call 911.

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