What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a disease caused by a coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans.

COVID-19 affects people of all ages and while most people will have mild symptoms, COVID-19 can also cause some people to get much sicker. In a small number of people, it can lead to death.

Protect yourself

The best way to protect your family against COVID-19 is to be up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines. The following safety measures are also helpful in preventing spread of the virus:

Vaccines and antibodies

Help is available

Vaccinations are one of the most effective ways you can help protect yourself from COVID-19. If you do become ill, there may be treatment options available.

Most people who become ill with COVID-19 will be able to recover at home. For individuals at the highest risk for hospitalization or death, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the emergency use of antibody therapies and antiviral medications.

Learn more

Symptoms, diagnosis and care

Is it COVID-19?

Knowing the symptoms of COVID-19 is important. They can be very similar to the symptoms of a cold or flu.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms can include:

  • Fever (100°F or higher)

  • Cough

  • Trouble breathing

  • Chills or repeated shaking with chills

  • Muscle pain

  • Headache

  • Sore throat

  • New loss of taste or smell

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhea

  • Severe fatigue


If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, it is important to isolate to avoid spreading the virus to others.

You should also:

  • Stay home

  • Limit contact with others

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water

  • Cover your cough with your elbow

  • Sneeze into a tissue

  • Stay home from work, school or public areas

  • Avoid public transportation

  • Clean and disinfect objects you touch often

  • Not travel

  • Not share personal items

  • Wear a cloth mask that covers your nose and mouth if you are around others

For those who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, quarantining helps prevent the spread of disease — especially if a person does not know they are sick or if they are infected with the virus but doesn’t have symptoms.


If you have been in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or you are experiencing symptoms, you should be tested even if you are fully vaccinated.

Individuals experiencing symptoms

Individuals who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 are encouraged to contact their health care providers. UW Health patients can call their clinic or send a message via MyChart.

Patients who receive a COVID-19 test at a UW Health facility can receive their results quickly through their MyChart account. Patients who do not have a MyChart account can sign up online. To sign up, visit uwhealthmychart.org and select the Sign Up Now blue button.

Individuals not experiencing symptoms

If you do not have symptoms (asymptomatic), but are seeking a COVID-19 test, we encourage you to pursue one of the other available testing locations and options.

COVID-19 testing options


Know the facts