What to Know About the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Know the facts, below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

Find the nearest COVID-19 testing locations to you at the NYS Department of Health website.

About Your Test Results/Exposure


What should I do if my COVID-19 test result came back positive?

Stay calm. You should not be embarrassed or ashamed of this test result – you are not alone. It is important that you self-isolate immediately. The CDC requires you to remain in isolation for at least 10 days after illness onset and at least 3 days (72 hours) after recovery. Illness onset is defined as the date symptoms began. Stay home and separate yourself from others as much as possible (click to read more about Quarantine vs. Isolation). It is important to isolate even if you feel fine, as you are still infectious. You should look out for symptoms such as shortness of breath, extreme weakness, or an inability to eat or drink. If these symptoms worsen, we recommend calling 9-1-1 or coming to the Emergency Department immediately. You can also watch our informational video Next Steps Following Your Positive COVID-19 Test.

What does it mean if my COVID-19 test result came back negative?

If you are symptomatic, your result could be a “false” negative and you should continue to self-isolate. Or, if you aren’t experiencing any symptoms, it is also possible that you were very early in your infection when your sample was collected and that you could test positive later. Wear a mask, look out for symptoms and quarantine if you had a close contact with a person who has COVID-19. To learn more, visit our Quarantine vs. Isolation page.

What should I do if I was directly exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19?

You should get a COVID-19 test 4 days after you believe you came in direct contact with that person – or if you start developing symptoms. Getting tested earlier than 4 days may result in a false negative and you risk potentially infecting others. Visit our Coronavirus/COVID-19 resource page for testing options and consult our Quarantine vs. Isolation page for guidance on keeping vulnerable family members and others safe.

What should I do if I’m sick but I’m not sure it is COVID-19?

Don’t take any chances -- get tested; visit our Coronavirus/COVID-19 resource page for testing options. It is important that you wear your mask and stay away from others until you can be diagnosed. Please visit our website for more information on Quarantine vs. Isolation.

What should I do if I believe I may have been exposed, but am not sure?

Call the White Plains Hospital COVID-19 Hotline at 914-681-2900 for guidance. If you choose to get tested at White Plains Hospital or at our Urgent Care in Armonk, the current turnaround time for test results is 2-10 days. Watch for symptoms and schedule a virtual visit if you get sick.

Can I get a COVID-19 test for work or travel, or to rule out illness prior to visiting relatives?

Please be aware that the CDC is recommending against travel for the holidays and New York State has set a limit of 10 people for family gatherings. An increase in testing is leading to long wait times, shortages of tests, and delays in getting results. The current turnaround time for test results is 2-10 days. See our Coronavirus/COVID-19 resource page for testing options.

About Coronavirus

What is Coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in people and many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people such as with SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and now with this new virus (named SARS-CoV-2).

What are the symptoms of Coronavirus?

Symptoms range from mild to severe, and may appear 2-14 days after exposure. They include fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, loss of taste or smell.

How does it spread?

The virus is mainly thought to spread from person to person, through respiratory droplets produced by coughs or sneezes. This means that if you have been within 6 feet of an infected person for an extended period of time, there is potential for respiratory droplets to land in your mouth or nose, and then be inhaled.

What is the best way to protect myself?

The best way to prevent the virus is to avoid close contact with people who are sick, and practice regular hand-washing with clean running water. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with soap, including the back of hands, between fingers and under nails, for at least 20 seconds. Rinse and dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them, and use a towel to turn off the faucet. When you must be out in public, practice social distancing rules by maintaining a 6-foot separation from other people. The CDC now recommends wearing a face mask or cloth covering in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

My friend or relative didn’t seem that sick. Could I still be infected?

According to the CDC, “a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms.  This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms.

Call the White Plains Hospital Coronavirus Awareness Hotline at (914) 681-2900 to get information and speak with a live person 24/7, who will be able to guide you through next steps if you suspect you have coronavirus.