Member COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions
What MetroPlus Members Need to Know About Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Coronavirus (COVID-19) has dramatically altered life around the globe, and has had a tremendous impact here in New York City. We know that you may have questions about this virus and how it can affect you and your family. We’re here to help.
What do I do if I think I have the coronavirus?
If you have symptoms including fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, or new loss of taste or smell, you should act as if you have coronavirus. If you have these symptoms, you should get tested now. You may also need medical care. If you have shortness of breath/chest pain or difficulty talking, you should go to your nearest urgent care center or emergency department If you need additional advice regarding COVID, you can call your doctor orthe NYC COVID hotline at 844-692-4692.
If you are sick with any of the symptoms above, you must stay inside and isolate yourself from others. This means you do not go to work, school, or ride public transit. Ask someone else to buy groceries for you or order delivery of food/groceries.
If you are not able to get tested, or if you get a positive COVID test result, it is best to quarantine yourself for 10 days from the onset of your symptoms AND you are 3 days without fever AND resolving symptoms.
While at home, stay as far away from the people you live with as is possible. Do not share personal items, like dishes, towels, or bedding, with others. Cover your mouth and nose when around others. Wash your hands frequently, and clean all surfaces you touch with household cleaning spray.
What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
Coronavirus symptoms can appear 2 to 14 days after a person has contact with the virus. Symptoms include:
- Trouble breathing or shortness of breath
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- New loss of taste or smell
Most people who have the coronavirus will have mild symptoms, but certain other health conditions can put you at higher risk of severe illness, including chronic lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. The elderly are also at a higher risk.
How can I safely see a doctor for normal health concerns (flu, pink eye, urinary infection, therapy)?
Many of our participating MetroPlusHealth providers are now offering telehealth visits. Check with yours to see if this is an option that will work for you. If you need to see a doctor right away, you can see one safely without leaving your home—for FREE! MetroPlusHealth Virtual Visit has doctors available 24/7 for urgent care, online therapy, and initial online psychiatry visits and follow up visits. All you need is MetroPlusHealth coverage and your smart phone, tablet, or computer.
How does coronavirus spread?
It spreads among people who are in close contact with an infected person, primarily through minute amounts of virus in droplets sprayed from the nose and mouth.
Who is at risk from coronavirus?
If you had close contact with someone with the disease, withing the previous 14 days, you are at risk and should be tested. Contact your doctor to determine the next steps.
Older adults and those with weakened immune systems, chronic lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, should take extra care to avoid this disease.
What should people do to stay safe?
The most effective way to help stop the spread of coronavirus is social distancing, wearing a mask and proper hand washing. Make sure to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. You can use hand sanitizer if soap and water isn’t available but wash your hands as soon as possible.
You should also avoid touching your face (especially your eyes, nose, and mouth) with unwashed hands. If you need to cough or sneeze, cover it with a tissue and then throw the tissue out.
Who should get tested for COVID to see if they are currently infected?
The following people are highest priority for COVID-19 testing:
- Anyone with symptoms.
- Anyone who had close contact within the previous 14 days to a person who was confirmed to have COVID-19, especially household contacts and intimate partners.
- Anyone who works in a group residential setting, such as a nursing home, adult care facility, and homeless shelter.
Call your provider if you have symptoms and think you may need to be tested. You can also find a community testing site near you.
I am currently ill with symptoms consistent with COVID. Should I be tested?
At this time, anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should receive a swab or saliva test. Call your provider if you think you may need to be tested. You can also visit https://www.metroplus.org/member/health-information/Testing-Sites to find a community testing site near you. Since antibodies do not usually become detectable until 1-3 weeks after symptoms begin, they are NOT useful to diagnose a current illness as COVID-19.
If you have mild to moderate symptoms, stay home while you wait to be tested. Do not leave home except to get essential medical care (including testing for COVID-19) or to get basic needs such as groceries (if someone can’t get them for you). If you have more serious symptoms, please seek medical care right away. You can also call 844-692-4692 for COVID-related medical advice.
Should I be tested after recovering from confirmed COVID to show that I am no longer shedding virus?
No, repeat testing is not recommended at this time. As above, for patients recovering at home, it is possible to assume that someone can no longer spread the virus if:
- At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery (that is, symptoms have cleared up) and
- At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared, even without testing to ensure there is no more virus present.
Note that guidance is slightly different for those who had infection without symptoms. Additional questions about when to discontinue home isolation can be directed to primary care providers or to providers staffing the NYC H+H Hotline (844-692-4692).
Should I be tested for antibodies after recovering from suspected COVID to show that my past illness was, in fact, COVID?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COVID antibody testing should not be used at this time to find out if you are immune (“protected”) to COVID. Although it is understood that the presence of antibodies (specifically, IgG antibodies) could indicate some level of immunity to COVID-19, more research is needed on this subject. Even if antibody testing is conducted, the result should not change guidance on preventive steps to take. Everyone, regardless of test result, is still recommended to practice physical distancing and use protective equipment, like face masks.
What is the treatment for coronavirus?
There is currently no specific medicine proven to eliminate the virus but there are some medications that have been shown to reduce symptoms and the severity of illness. There are also ways to make people with coronavirus more comfortable while their bodies fight the virus. This can include pain medications like acetaminophen and ibuprofen, or bed rest to help your body fight the illness.
People with serious cases of coronavirus may need to stay in the hospital to be monitored while they are sick. Doctors can make sure that they stay hydrated and are breathing properly.
Will I be able to get COVID-19 vaccines?
As the supply of COVID-19 vaccine in the United States currently limited, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that the first supplies of COVID-19 vaccine go to healthcare professionals, residents of long-term care facilities and older adults. As more vaccines become available, vaccination recommendations will include more groups.
When can I get COVID-19 vaccines?
People can find out more about where to vaccinated through your employer, care facility or being going to the NYC COVID vaccine website here. This website will let you know when you can get your vaccine and will show you various places where you can schedule an appointment or go to get your vaccine.
When vaccines become more widely available, there may be another that information as soon as it is available.
Please continue to check back here for further information. MetroPlusHealth will continue to update you as we learn more ourselves. You can also keep up with the latest NYS COVID-19 vaccine updates here.
Meanwhile, don’t forget that you should get the flu vaccine if you have not already done so. MetroPlusHealth members can receive free flu shots at their provider’s office and all MetroPlusHealth members, ages 18 and above, can get a free flu shot at any CVS. Click here to find a CVS near you. Remember, you cannot get the flu from the flu shot.
How much will I pay for the COVID-19 vaccines?
MetroPlusHealth will cover COVID-19 vaccines at no cost to members in all lines of business, wherever they are available.
Do I need to wear a mask?
Yes, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has said that, in order to avoid spreading the virus, masks must be worn by all people in public places and wherever appropriate social distancing cannot be practiced.
Where can I find more information about COVID-19?
We will update this page as more information becomes available. Check back at any time.
Meanwhile, the NYC Department of Health has a page for Coronavirus information and updates. Click here for NYC-specific information.
You can also visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website here. To learn the latest updates about COVID-19.
The New York State Department of Health provides public health information and guidance here: and has implemented a Novel Coronavirus Hotline at 1-888-364-3065.
Please use these resources to inform yourself about the coronavirus to help keep your family, your community, and yourself safe.
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