COVID-19 Resource Center
Have symptoms or concerns about COVID-19? Our physicians are here to help. Whether you’re looking for answers to questions, guidance on next steps or peace of mind, get text-based care 24/7 from the safety and comfort of home. Download the 98point6 app to sign up and start a visit.
We're keeping you informed
Coronavirus cases continue to surge across the United States and worldwide. While the recent news about vaccines is positive and provides hope, staying informed and taking proper precautions remain the best ways to minimize risk and protect yourself and your family. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends practicing physical distancing, wearing face masks, avoiding indoor gatherings and exercising good hygiene as the most effective ways to mitigate virus transmission—keeping you, your family and your community safe.
- Three vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson) have now been authorized by the FDA for use in the United States, with more expected to become available in the near future.
- Use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been temporarily paused while FDA investigators review a handful of cases of a rare type of blood clot that were reported in a very small number of patients who received this vaccine.
- The CDC has provided recommendations to federal, state and local governments about prioritization; check the site frequently to stay up to date on the rollout and your place in it.
- For the latest guidance and reassurance on vaccine safety, side effects and more, check out our Vaccine FAQs.
Brad Younggren, MD
98point6 Chief Medical Officer
Why virtual care?
Virtual care is one of the most impactful tools available in the fight against COVID-19, and we’re as dedicated as ever to providing the diagnosis, treatment and reassurance you need from home. Text-based care allows us to evaluate symptoms without you risking exposure—or potentially passing the illness to others—helping to prevent further spread of the virus.
Frequently asked questions about coronavirus
How do I know the vaccines are safe?
Vaccine trials generally last many months to ensure that they are safe. We know, from decades of testing vaccines, that the dangerous side effects typically occur soon after the vaccine is given, and not months later. The trials are monitored by an independent team of experts. If this independent data and the safety monitoring board find the vaccine to be safe, it then goes through two more layers of scrutiny (Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) before being authorized for use in humans. In short, the path to vaccine approval is complex, multilayered and errs on the side of patient safety. Although we are in unprecedented times, you should rest assured that regulatory and scientific bodies (such as the CDC and FDA) are taking every possible precaution to ensure that any vaccine that you receive is both safe and effective. While the temporary pause of the J&J vaccine is understandably concerning, it also demonstrates that COVID-19 safety is important and the FDA takes reports of adverse effects seriously so they can make their most informed, timely decision.
How can I get vaccinated?
Your local health department determines how vaccines are distributed. Click here to select your state or territory via the CDC; you’ll get routed to the appropriate website where you can find relevant resources, answer questions about eligibility and pre-register to reserve a spot to get a vaccine.
What is the difference between each of the vaccines?
The first two vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer are made using mRNA technology that requires two shots 3–4 weeks apart. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is our first one-shot option. Despite different makeups and criteria around storage, these vaccines all work in the same way: teaching your immune system to protect you against COVID-19 by making an antibody to the spike protein on the surface of the virus. Think of the COVID-19 spike protein as a key that unlocks a door on your healthy cells, allowing the virus to enter. Once you make an antibody to the spike protein (with the help of the vaccine), the shape of the key changes and the virus will not be able to enter your cells and make you sick.
Which vaccine should I get?
The short answer is that you should take the first vaccine that becomes available to you. The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have been shown to reduce severe disease from COVID-19 in about 90–95% of people. The single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine so far appears to protect about 85% percent from severe disease. Regardless of these percentages, the most important takeaway is that all three of these vaccines are highly effective in rendering COVID-19 into milder cases. In other words, even at an estimated 85% overall effectiveness, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is just as good as Moderna and Pfizer vaccines at preventing the kind of serious illness that leads to hospitalization or death.
I had COVID-19. Do I need to get vaccinated?
Yes, according to recommendations from the CDC, since there are still unknowns around re-infection and how long immunity lasts. If you were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, however, speak to your healthcare provider, as some timing restrictions exist.
What side effects might I expect?
The most common reactions reported for all 3 approved vaccines are fever, fatigue, headache, muscle aches and pain at the injection site. One thing to note, the symptoms seem to be more significant after the second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, although some people just feel tired for a day or two and others have no side effects at all.
Should I “pre-medicate” with pain relievers prior to receiving my vaccine?
No. Some evidence has indicated that the use of anti-inflammatories may interfere with the body’s immune response. While there is no definitive conclusion, experts recommend avoiding acetaminophen and NSAIDs prior to vaccination to ensure maximum immune response and vaccine effectiveness.
I have heard reports of deaths linked to the vaccine. Is this true?
You may have heard that in January, several deaths were reported in Norway amongst nursing home patients who had been vaccinated for COVID-19. On January 19, 2021 the Global Vaccine Safety Committee of the World Health Organization met to review the safety data and concluded that the deaths were not unexpected or unexplained and continued vaccination of this group was recommended. For context, the baseline mortality rate among nursing home patients in Norway is approximately 400 per week, regardless of vaccination.2
While it is also true that several people in the United States have become ill and passed away shortly after receiving a vaccine for COVID-19, at present, none of the deaths have been found to be caused by the vaccine.3 Every time there is a severe reaction or death that could be linked to a vaccine, it is investigated by public health authorities. The benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks, and the CDC recommends that every eligible person be vaccinated.4
Under what circumstances, post-vaccination, should I contact a doctor?
You should reach out to a healthcare provider if you experience any of the following:
- High fever that does not respond to acetaminophen
- Red, warm rash at the injection site
- Any symptom that is concerning to you
If you received the J&J vaccine and experience any of the following within three weeks, start a new visit with 98point6 or get seen right away in an urgent care or emergency room.
- Bad headache
- Stomach pain
- Leg pain
- Shortness of breath
- Abnormal bruising or bleeding
Can my child be vaccinated?
The Pfizer vaccine is currently approved for use in patients ages 16+; however, other vaccine manufacturers, such as Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, are still conducting clinical trials to ensure vaccine safety and efficacy in children ages 17 and under. It is likely that widespread vaccination among children ages 15 and under will not begin until late 2021.
I’m fully vaccinated. What can I safely do?
The CDC has recently released the first set of public health recommendations for fully vaccinated people. It is intended to be updated, expanded and revised based on the level of community spread, the progress of the vaccine rollout and increased understanding of the vaccine’s impact. This guidance applies to people two weeks after receiving either both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or those who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson. vaccine more than two weeks ago.
Visit this webpage from the CDC frequently for the latest about engaging in activities such as gathering indoors with other fully vaccinated people without typical COVID-19 safety precautions and to get a better understanding of your revised quarantine and testing recommendations following a potential exposure.
If I’m fully vaccinated, why do I still need to wear a mask and practice physical distancing?
It will take several months before we are able to vaccinate our entire population and we don’t fully understand how well the vaccine will work across the masses, if it protects individuals from being infectious and spreading the virus as well as from getting sick and for how long the immunity might last. This is a tremendous public health undertaking and until we know for sure that we are all safe, the recommendation is that we continue to wear a mask, physical distance and wash our hands frequently with soap and water in order to protect each other and stop the spread.
What is the latest on the J&J vaccine? Is it safe and approved?
More than 6 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been given in the U.S. The CDC and FDA are currently reviewing six U.S. cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot around the brain after getting the vaccine. In these cases, the blood clotting was seen with low levels of blood platelets. These were in women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred 6–13 days after vaccination.
The CDC has met with their vaccine experts to review these cases and their significance. The FDA is in the process of reviewing CDC findings. Until this is complete, the FDA has recommended a temporary pause in the use of this vaccine, out of an abundance of caution.
This does not mean the vaccine is unsafe. This shows that COVID-19 vaccine safety is important, and the FDA is taking these reports seriously so that they can make the best recommendation.
I received the J&J vaccine. Should I be concerned and what should I look out for?
Right now, these reported blood clots seem to be extremely rare. However, if you got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and then get a bad headache, stomach pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks after the vaccine, please start a new visit with 98point6 at any time of day or night, or get seen right away in an urgent care or an emergency room.
Who is at risk for serious illness from COVID-19?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults of increasing age and people who have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease have a higher risk of developing complications from this illness.
Outside this high-risk group, a complete recovery is likely, although reports of complications in a subset of COVID-19 patients include Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C) in children, as well as respiratory, neurological, kidney and vascular effects on adults. Also bear in mind that people of all ages and levels of risk can transmit the infection and increase the spread.
Click here for the most complete and updated list from the CDC of people at highest risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
How can I protect myself and my family?
The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus, according to the CDC. You can do this by:
- Practicing physical distancing. This means avoiding crowded public places and large gatherings where close contact with others may occur. It’s recommended you aim for a physical distance of approximately 6 feet from others when possible.
- Regularly and thoroughly cleaning your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or washing them with soap and water, as this kills viruses that may be on your hands.
- Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue and throwing the tissue away.
- Not touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and objects.
- Wearing a face covering whenever you're in a public setting, especially indoors or in situations where physical distancing is a challenge. The CDC now recommends “double masking,” which includes wearing one disposable mask underneath a cloth mask or using a cloth mask with double layers of material. Review the CDC’s latest recommendations about optimizing mask protection here.
How do I know the status of COVID-19 infection in my community?
Click here for the latest updates on COVID-19, including a state-by-state map from Johns Hopkins that shows reported cases and community transmission to date by county level.
Are my kids at risk for coronavirus? What symptoms should I look for?
General symptoms of COVID-19 for children are similar to those seen in adults. However, children tend to experience milder symptoms (resembling a common cold or low-grade flu) such as fever, runny nose and cough. Other potential symptoms include tiredness, sore throat, shortness of breath, body aches, headaches, vomiting and diarrhea with occasionally more severe illness, like pneumonia.
In rare cases, some children are experiencing a systemic inflammatory condition similar to Kawasaki disease with fever, eye redness and an unusual rash on the body (including the extremities). Currently being referred to as Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), this can occur without the usual respiratory symptoms and in children who have recovered from a previous COVID-19 infection. If your child is experiencing any of the above, start a visit with us or contact your pediatrician to see if testing for COVID-19 or an in-person evaluation is appropriate.
What is the CDC’s revised recommendation around how “close contact” is defined?
The CDC currently defines “close contact” as being within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over one 24-hour period. The difference between the prior recommendation is the cumulative factor. Whereas previously, 15 consecutive minutes defined close contact, the revised recommendation states that exposures can be added together over one 24-hour period. For example, if you interact on a construction site for three minutes with an infected person, five separate times, for a total of 15 minutes in a workday, that would fit the new definition.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, shortness of breath and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, diarrhea or loss of sense of taste and smell. These symptoms are usually mild, begin gradually and can appear 2–14 days after being exposed. Individuals of increasing age and those with underlying medical conditions like high blood pressure, heart problems, lung conditions or diabetes are more likely to develop serious illness. For a more detailed look at symptoms, visit the CDC page here.
I’m worried I have COVID-19. Should I get tested? If so, where?
98point6 encourages widespread use of testing for COVID-19, and your physician may recommend it as part of your medical evaluation. You are also encouraged to discuss any concerns you might have about your personal risk or potential for exposure, as 98point6 doctors can order testing on the basis of these concerns, even in the absence of symptoms. Connecting with a physician will ensure your symptoms get assessed and you are guided towards the right next steps, which may include a visit to a testing center nearest you.
What precautions should I take if I’m sick?
It’s important to get the care you need in a way that prevents the disease from spreading to others. Take advantage of virtual care or contact your healthcare provider (call before visiting). A physician will discuss your symptoms and your risk for COVID-19 and help you decide whether you need testing. It may be recommended you self-isolate in your home for a period of time.
If you live with family or roommates, this entails:
- Staying in a separate room and using a different bathroom, if possible.
- Avoiding the sharing of personal household items, including drinkware and towels.
- Wearing a mask if you do need to be in the same room for even a brief amount of time.
- Everyone in the household should be vigilant about hygiene, from covering coughs and sneezes to thoroughly washing hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, plus cleaning frequently touched surfaces daily.
I had close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. How long should I quarantine?
The CDC still endorses a quarantine period of 14 days post-exposure, if possible. However, to lessen the stress on the public health system, especially when new infections are rapidly rising, it now offers the following shorter quarantine options:
- After day 10 without testing
- After day 7 after receiving a negative test result on a test that occurred on day 5 or later
These alternatives should be considered in conjunction with your local public health authorities.
If you had COVID in the past 3 months, recovered and have no symptoms, there is no need to quarantine. If you develop symptoms, you need to be tested if there is no other cause identified to explain your symptoms.
If you have been fully vaccinated within the past 3 months and have no symptoms, there is no need to quarantine.
These alternatives should be considered in conjunction with your local public health authorities.
I’m experiencing mild symptoms; what should I do?
Unless you are in a high-risk group (older adults and people who have serious chronic medical conditions) for developing complications, the best thing you can do is self-isolate and monitor your symptoms carefully.
- Get rest and stay hydrated; this helps support your immune system.
- Use the same over-the-counter medications you would to treat the symptoms of a cold, such as acetaminophen for fever and aches and cough/cold medicine.
- For questions or peace of mind, take advantage of virtual care, as needed.
How do I know if I need emergency care?
If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, get medical attention immediately. If possible, call your healthcare provider ahead of time and tell them your COVID-19 status. Emergency warning signs include*:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or difficulty waking up
- Bluish lips or face
- Severe and constant dizziness or lightheadedness
*This list is not all-inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.
What is the CDC’s current recommendation around getting a COVID-19 test if I’ve been exposed?
Currently, testing is recommended for symptomatic individuals and for asymptomatic individuals who have been in “close contact” with a person who has COVID-19. Close contact is defined as being within 6 feet of a person who has a COVID-19 infection for at least 15 minutes total in the last 24 hours. There are exceptions to this updated recommendation; for example, if you live with someone at high-risk of COVID-19 complications, such as an elderly person or an individual with an underlying health condition, you can discuss with your doctor whether testing might be helpful, even with no symptoms and a lesser degree of exposure.
The CDC also recommends testing for individuals who have taken part in activities where inadequate physical distancing puts them at higher risk for COVID-19, such as travel, attending large social or mass gatherings, or being in crowded indoor settings.
COVID-19 testing is becoming more available across the country every day. While an order from a physician is not always required, you can get one from us at any time if needed. Even if you just want reassurance, you can always speak with a 98point6 physician to determine if a test is right for you.
What are the different types of COVID-19 testing? How do I know which one I need?
There are two different types of tests for a COVID-19 infection. :
- PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) tests, considered the “gold standard,” use a sample taken from the nose or mouth by swab or saliva. Results can take anywhere from hours to days.
- Rapid diagnostic viral tests (also known as antigen tests), also use a sample taken from the nose or mouth by swab or saliva. The difference is that these tests provide results in less than 15 minutes.
If you believe—or want to determine if—you had a COVID-19 infection, you can get an antibody test.
- Antibody tests use a blood sample to reveal markers of immune response in the form of antibodies, which frequently show up in the blood more than a week after the onset of symptoms. Results can take anywhere from hours to days.
For more information about testing, visit this resource from the FDA.
Can your doctors order testing?
Our physicians can provide orders for viral and antigen tests; they can also guide patients to testing locations and directly order antibody testing if you meet the requirements necessary.
Can your doctors help me understand the test results I received?
Yes. We are available 24/7 to answer questions about your diagnostic or antibody test results, and offer guidance around next steps.
How much does a COVID-19 test cost?
If you’re receiving a viral or antibody test for COVID-19, it’s possible that your lab costs may be covered. As part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, most insurance plans are covering or reimbursing for qualifying COVID-19-related testing costs. While some testing and lab locations may require payment at the time of testing, or bill you afterwards, it’s possible that these costs are reimbursable either through your insurance provider or your state (if you’re on Medicaid, a state-sponsored health plan or uninsured). If you do need to pay out-of-pocket for your test, know that the cost can vary. If you are billed by your lab, please contact your insurance provider or state health department to discuss how to get reimbursed for your labs related to COVID-19.
When is the best time after COVID-19 exposure to get a test?
It is important to understand that the timing of when a person is tested has an impact on the test results. It can take several days after someone is exposed to the virus for there to be enough virus to be detected. For example, being tested on the day of your exposure or the next day will likely result in a negative (not infected) test result, even in individuals who may later go on to develop infection.
COVID-19 tests are mostly likely to detect an infection three (3) to seven (7) days after exposure. COVID-19 PCR tests, which test for virus DNA, are still considered the gold standard, but antigen tests, which test for viral proteins, are increasingly used for testing symptomatic patients and for screening asymptomatic patients. For those who develop symptoms, the CDC recommends getting tested no later than 7 days after symptom onset or exposure to the virus. A 98point6 physician or your healthcare provider can help you determine the best time to be tested. Whenever you have questions or concerns about COVID-19 exposure, symptoms or testing, a physician is your best source of information, guidance and reassurance.
A student in my child’s class has been diagnosed with COVID-19. My child was exposed, but is displaying no symptoms. Should they get tested?
The CDC recommends that close contacts of students or staff with COVID-19 be quickly identified and tested. To make sure this happens, school administrators should work with local health officials on contact tracing efforts.
If your child is attending in-person school or daycare, make sure you have a solid understanding of the policies surrounding cases, quarantines and closures. Open, transparent communication counts and goes both ways, so ask questions to make sure you are comfortable and aware.
Should I take any medication before or after the COVID-19 vaccine?
BEFORE: It is not recommended you premedicate before vaccination for the purpose of trying to prevent side effects, because it is not known how these medications may impact the vaccine’s effectiveness.
AFTER: If you have no other medical reasons to prevent you from taking them, over-the-counter medicines, such as ibuprofen, aspirin, antihistamines or acetaminophen can help any pain or discomfort you may have after receiving your vaccination. If you are unsure, our physicians can help guide your specific situation.
Can 98point6 physicians prescribe any specific treatments or prescriptions for COVID-19?
At this time, there are no COVID-19-specific medications used to treat patients who are not in the hospital. Our physicians are able to recommend and prescribe both over-the-counter and prescription medications to help with your symptoms. Start a visit to see what we can offer in your specific situation.