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What to do if…

I’ve Had Close Contact with COVID-19

Stay home and away from others (including people you live with who are not sick) if you have respiratory virus symptoms that aren’t better explained by another cause. These symptoms can include fever, chills, fatigue, cough, runny nose, and headache, among others.

You can go back to your normal activities when, for at least 24 hours, both are true:

  • Your symptoms are getting better overall, and
  • You have not had a fever (and are not using fever-reducing medication)

When you go back to your normal activities, take added precaution over the next 5 days, such as taking additional steps for cleaner air, hygiene, masks, physical distancing, and/or testing when you will be around other people indoors.

  • Keep in mind that you may still be able to spread the virus that made you sick, even if you are feeling better. You are likely to be less contagious at this time, depending on factors like how long you were sick or how sick you were.
  • If you develop a fever or you start to feel worse after you have gone back to normal activities, stay home and away from others again until, for at least 24 hours, both are true: your symptoms are improving overall, and you have not had a fever (and are not using fever-reducing medication). Then take added precaution for the next 5 days.
    I Have a Positive Home Test Result

    If you are a Lewis County resident and have tested positive for COVID-19 via an at-home test, please fill out this form the day you test positive. Lewis County Public Health will no longer be calling positive COVID-19 cases or issuing isolation orders.

    Positive Home Test

    How to Prepare and Take Action for COVID-19


    General Information

    What is the coronavirus (COVID-19)?

    Coronavirus (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

    Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

    How does COVID-19 spread?

    From the CDC:

    The virus that causes COVID-19 most commonly spreads between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet, or 2 arm lengths).

    It spreads through respiratory droplets or small particles, such as those in aerosols, produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes.
    These particles can be inhaled into the nose, mouth, airways, and lungs and cause infection. This is thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
    Droplets can also land on surfaces and objects and be transferred by touch. A person may get COVID-19 by touching the surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes. Spread from touching surfaces is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

    It is possible that COVID-19 may spread through the droplets and airborne particles that are formed when a person who has COVID-19 coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes. There is growing evidence that droplets and airborne particles can remain suspended in the air and be breathed in by others, and travel distances beyond 6 feet (for example, during choir practice, in restaurants, or in fitness classes). In general, indoor environments without good ventilation increase this risk.

    What does “case investigation” and “contact tracing” mean?

    During the case investigation process, Public Health will work with the person with COVID-19 to identify any close contacts this person had 48 hours prior to their symptoms starting or 48 hours prior to their test if they are asymptomatic. Close contacts that are identified will be notified that they were exposed to a person with COVID-19 and will be placed under quarantine for 14 days since their last contact with the positive case.

    close contact is considered someone closer than 6 feet together with or without a mask for more than 10 minutes within 48 hours to positive person’s symptom onset or a positive test result. Close contacts should quarantine for 14 days and monitor symptoms daily. If symptoms develop, individual should get tested immediately. Some individuals may want to get tested right away for various reasons. Public Health recommends waiting until 7-10 days post exposure.

    Contacts of a close contact are individuals who have been around identified close contacts of a confirmed/probable case prior to the close contact being quarantines. Contacts of a close contact should continue practicing safety protocols such as social distancing, wearing a face covering, cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, practicing frequent handwashing, and self checking for symptoms. If the close contact tests positive or begins to develop symptoms within 48 hours prior to their positive test, you should quarantine.

    What is the difference between “quarantine” and “isolation”?

    Isolation separates people who have tested positive for COVID-19 from others, regardless of if they have symptoms or not.

    Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease, such as COVID-19, to see if they become sick. 

    • Isolated and quarantined individuals will be contacted daily to check in on their well-being and to ensure they have what they need to get through the isolation/quarantine process.
    • The ultimate goal of isolation and quarantine is to separate and restrict the movement or activities of persons who are ill, suspected of being ill, or who have been exposed to infection, for the purpose of preventing transmission of diseases.


    What are possible symptoms of COVID-19?

    People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

    • Fever or chills
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Fatigue
    • Muscle or body aches
    • Headache
    • New loss of taste or smell
    • Sore throat
    • Congestion or runny nose
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Diarrhea

    This list does not include all possible symptoms. CDC will continue to update this list as more is learned more about COVID-19. 

    Most people with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms and recover on their own. Less commonly, COVID-19 may lead to pneumonia, other severe complications, hospitalization or death.

    What should I do if I have symptoms of COVID-19?

    If you are sick with COVID-19 or think you might have COVID-19, follow the steps below to care for yourself and to help protect other people in your home and community.

    • Stay home except to get medical care (including testing for COVID-19)
      • Stay home. Most people with COVID-19 have mild illness and can recover at home without medical care. Do not leave your home, except to get medical care. Do not visit public areas (such as grocery stores, drugstores, department stores, shopping malls, theaters, religious services, community centers) or attend any social gatherings.
      • Take care of yourself. Get rest and stay hydrated. Take over-the-counter medicines to help you feel better.
      • Stay in touch with your doctor. Call before you get medical care. Be sure to get care if you have trouble breathing, or have any other emergency warning signs, or if you think it is an emergency.
      • Avoid public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.

    • Separate yourself from other people
      • As much as possible, stay in a specific room and away from other people and pets in your home. If possible, you should use a separate bathroom. If you need to be around other people or animals in or outside of the home, wear a mask.
      • Tell your close contacts that they may have been exposed to COVID-19. An infected person can spread COVID-19 starting 48 hours (or 2 days) before the person has any symptoms or tests positive. By letting your close contacts know they may have been exposed to COVID-19, you are helping to protect everyone.

    • Monitor your symptoms
      • Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, or other symptoms.
      • Follow care instructions from your healthcare provider and local health department. Your local health authorities may give instructions on checking your symptoms and reporting information.
      • Look for emergency warning signs for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:
        • Trouble breathing
        • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
        • New confusion
        • Inability to wake or stay awake
        • Bluish lips or face
        • *This list is not all possible symptoms. Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

        • Call 911 or call ahead to your local emergency facility: Notify the operator that you are seeking care for someone who has or may have COVID-19.

    • Call ahead before visiting your doctor

      • Call ahead. Many medical visits for routine care are being postponed or done by phone or telemedicine.

      • If you have a medical appointment that cannot be postponed, call your doctor’s office, and tell them you have or may have COVID-19. This will help the office protect themselves and other patients.

    • If you are sick, wear a mask over your nose and mouth

      • You should wear a mask over your nose and mouth if you must be around other people or animals, including pets (even at home).

      • You don’t need to wear the mask if you are alone. If you can’t put on a mask (because of trouble breathing, for example), cover your coughs and sneezes in some other way. Try to stay at least 6 feet away from other people. This will help protect the people around you.
      • Masks should not be placed on young children under age 2 years, anyone who has trouble breathing, or anyone who is not able to remove the mask without help.
      • Note: During the COVID-19 pandemic, medical grade facemasks are reserved for healthcare workers and some first responders.

    • Cover your coughs and sneezes

      • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
      • Throw away used tissues in a lined trash can.
      • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
    • Clean your hands often

      • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. This is especially important after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
      • Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry.
      • Soap and water are the best option, especially if hands are visibly dirty.
      • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
      • Handwashing Tips
    • Avoid sharing personal household items

      • Do not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people in your home.
      • Wash these items thoroughly after using them with soap and water or put in the dishwasher.
    • Clean all “high-touch” surfaces everyday

      • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces in your “sick room” and bathroom; wear disposable gloves. Let someone else clean and disinfect surfaces in common areas, but you should clean your bedroom and bathroom, if possible.
      • If a caregiver or other person needs to clean and disinfect a sick person’s bedroom or bathroom, they should do so on an as-needed basis. The caregiver/other person should wear a mask and disposable gloves prior to cleaning. They should wait as long as possible after the person who is sick has used the bathroom before coming in to clean and use the bathroom.
      • Clean and disinfect areas that may have blood, stool, or body fluids on them.
      • Use household cleaners and disinfectants. Clean the area or item with soap and water or another detergent if it is dirty. Then, use a household disinfectant.
        • Be sure to follow the instructions on the label to ensure safe and effective use of the product. Many products recommend keeping the surface wet for several minutes to ensure germs are killed. Many also recommend precautions such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.
        • Most EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective. A full list of disinfectants can be found here.
        • Complete Disinfection Guidance
        • High-touch surfaces include phones, remote controls, counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables.


    I recently traveled. Do I have to quarantine?

    As of June 25, 2021, the New York State Travel Advisory is no longer in effect.  As such, travelers arriving in New York are no longer required to submit traveler health forms.

    All travelers, domestic and international, should continue to follow all CDC travel requirements.


    Where can I get tested in Lewis County?
    • Contact your primary care physician 

      Or contact a Kinney Drugs near you –

      Lowville Kinney Drugs:

      · PCR test available Tuesday and Wednesday from 10 am – 3 pm by appointment only · Must sign up online: COVID-19 Testing New York | Kinney Drugs

      Carthage Kinney Drugs:

      · PCR test available Monday – Friday from 10:00 am – 3 pm by appointment only · Must sign up online: COVID-19 Testing New York | Kinney Drugs

      Watertown Kinney Drugs (Washington St):

      · PCR test available Monday – Friday from 10 am – 3 pm by appointment only · Must sign up online: COVID-19 Testing New York | Kinney Drugs

      Or contact a Walgreens near you –

      Boonville Walgreens

      · By appointment only · Must schedule online at COVID-19 Testing | Select Location | Walgreens

      Carthage Walgreens

      · By appointment only · Must schedule online at COVID-19 Testing | Select Location | Walgreens or call 315-493-3606 for appointment


    Where can I receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Lewis County?

    Lewis County Public Health – An appointment can be made by calling (315) 376-5453

    Kinney Drugs (7395 Utica Blvd, Lowville, NY 13367) – An appointment can be made by calling (315) 376-7551

    Walmart (7155 NY-12, Lowville, NY 13367) – An appointment can be made by calling (315) 376-7030

    Surrounding Areas

    Walgreens (1 N Broad Street, Carthage, NY 13619) – An appointment can be made by calling (315) 493-3606

    Kinney Drugs (401 State Street, Carthage, NY 13619) – An appointment can be made by calling (315) 493-0150

    Walgreens (102 E Schuyler Street, Boonville, NY 13309) – An appointment can be made by calling (315) 942-4476

    Kinney Drugs (261 Utica Blvd, Boonville, NY 13309) – An appointment can be made by calling (315) 942-2509

    Walgreens (1655 State Street, Watertown, NY 13601) – An appointment can be made by calling (315) 785-1088)

    Kinney Drugs (1729 State Street, Watertown, NY 13601) – An appointment can be made by calling (315) 788-3570

    Kinney Drugs (1304 Washington Street, Watertown, NY 13601) – An appointment can be made by calling (315) 782-5700

    Additional COVID-19 vaccination locations can be found at

    How many COVID-19 vaccines are available?

    There are currently three COVID-19 vaccines available for distribution.

    • Each vaccine has a different dose schedule.
      • Moderna – Two shot series given 28 days apart.
      • Pfizer – Two shot series given 21 days apart.
      • Johnson & Johnson/Janssen – Single dose.
    • With the Moderna Pfizer vaccine, the first shot starts building protection. A second shot is needed to get the most protection the vaccine has to offer.
      • Since they differ in composition, storage and time between the two doses, you should take the same vaccine for both doses.
    • The vaccine is not immediately effective. It typically takes 2 weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination.
    What are mRNA vaccines and how do they work?
    • mRNA vaccines teach our cells how to make a harmless piece of what is called the “spike protein.” The spike protein is found on the surface of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. 
    • After our cells make copies of the protein, they destroy the genetic material from the vaccine.
    • Next, the cell displays the protein piece on its surface. Our immune systems recognize that the protein doesn’t belong there and begins building an immune response, making antibodies that will remember how to fight the virus that causes COVID-19 if we are infected in the future.
    • mRNA vaccines are not made from the live virus that causes COVID-19, therefore, there is no chance of getting the disease from the vaccine.
    • It’s important to note that the mRNA does not enter the cell nucleus where our DNA (genetic material) is kept, so it does not affect or interact with our DNA in any way. This is a common myth about mRNA vaccines.

    • mRNA technology is new, but not unknown. Researchers have been studying and working with mRNA vaccines for decades. Interest has grown in these vaccines because they can be developed in a laboratory using readily available materials, making vaccine development faster than traditional methods.

    To learn more about mRNA vaccines, please visit the Center for Disease Controls page – Understanding mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines.

    Are the vaccines safe?


    • You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine. The vaccine does not contain the virus. It teaches your body’s immune system how to fight the virus, so it can fight the virus if you are exposed to it.
    • Like all vaccines, COVID-19 mRNA vaccines have been rigorously tested for safety before being authorized for use in the United States. The COVID-19 vaccines have gone through large clinical studies involving tens of thousands of people of various ages, races and ethnicities. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) carefully reviews all the safety data from clinical trials.
    • mRNA technology is new, but not unknown. Researchers have been studying and working with mRNA vaccines for decades. Interest has grown in these vaccines because they can be developed in a laboratory using readily available materials, making vaccine development faster than traditional methods.

    To learn more about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines, please visit the Center for Disease Controls page – Ensuring the Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines in the United States.

    When will I be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

    Lewis County COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic Registration:

    Upcoming clinics can be found at Residents with no internet access can still call 315-376-5453 to register for an upcoming appointment. 

    *Please note that youth ages 5+ are only able to get the Pfizer vaccine at this time. Anyone 18+ is able to receive the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

    Are there side effects to the COVID-19 vaccine?

    You may have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection. It is normal to experience side effects after the first or second dose of the vaccine. Common side effects include:

    • Soreness in the arm where you got the shot
    • Fever
    • Chills
    • Feeling tired
    • Headache

    If you have pain or discomfort, talk to your doctor about taking an over-the-counter medicine, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. To reduce pain and discomfort where you got the shot:

    • Apply a clean, cool, wet washcloth over the area.
    • Use or exercise your arm.

    To reduce discomfort from fever:

    • Drink plenty of fluids.
    • Dress lightly.

    To see more information, please visit the Center for Disease Control’s What to Expect after Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine page.

    How were the vaccines able to be produced and distributed so quickly?

    In this video from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, you’ll learn how vaccine development met the highest standards of safety while using both new science and a century of vaccine experience. You’ll also find out how large COVID vaccine clinical trials allowed us to quickly analyze data to make sure the vaccines are safe and effective.

    How can I help protect myself from COVID-19?
    • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially before eating.
      • VIDEO: What You Need To Know About Handwashing – CDC
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick and stay home if you are sick.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
    • Stay home as much as possible. Everyone – even young people and those who feel well.
    • If you must go out, stay at least 6 feet away from others.
    • You must wear a face mask or face covering in public when social distancing (staying 6 feet apart) is not possible, especially on public transport, in stores and on crowded sidewalks.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

    Filing a Complaint

    My employer isn’t following NYS COVID-19 guidelines. Where can I file a complaint?

    Governor Cuomo enacted a law that provides benefits – including sick leave, paid family leave, and disability benefits – to New York employees impacted by mandatory or precautionary orders of quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19. If your employer does not comply with this law, you have the right to file a complaint. If you work for a non-essential business, you may not be forced to go to the worksite or otherwise threatened if you do not work at a place other than your home.


    Complete this form to file a complaint.

    You may also call 1-833-789-0470.

    I have a complaint regarding the operation of a businesses or gathering. Where can I file a complaint?

    In an effort to help enforce the state mandates put in place to limit the spread of coronavirus, people can now report non-essential gatherings or businesses in violation of state regulations.

    Complete this form to file a complaint.

    You may also call 1-833-789-0470.