Information about COVID-19

Learn about COVID-19 symptoms, testing options, care and treatment, how to stay safe, and more.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms of acute COVID-19 can be similar to flu symptoms and similar to allergy symptoms. They typically include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue (constant tiredness)
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea

Acute symptoms usually appear within two to 14 days after exposure to the coronavirus. Some people exposed to the coronavirus never develop symptoms of COVID-19; however, they may still be able to infect others (with much greater risk of transmission if they haven’t been vaccinated).

Symptoms of long-haul COVID-19 may vary. Long-haul COVID-19 (also called post-COVID syndrome) is when someone recovers from their initial infection but still has lingering health effects.

We offer convenient COVID-19 testing – by scheduled appointment only – at several clinics in Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Please note that due to high patient volumes, requesting only COVID-19 testing at a hospital emergency center is not recommended.

Your COVID-19 test results will typically be available in your online HealthPartners or Park Nicollet account within 72 hours of testing. Results are not available over the phone.

Getting plenty of rest and staying hydrated are key to feeling better. Over-the-counter medications may help you find relief from your COVID-19 symptoms while your immune system goes to work.

If you have a fever or sore throat
  • For babies under 4 months old: Call your child’s health care provider for care instructions.
  • For all ages over 4 months old: Use acetaminophen to help relieve pain and reduce any fever. Follow age- and weight-appropriate dosing recommendations and the package instructions. Avoid stomach upset by taking with food or milk.
  • For children over 1 year old: Honey can help soothe sore throats and coughs. (Honey is not safe for children under 1 year old.)
  • For adults only: Over-the-counter throat lozenges or antiseptic sprays can help provide pain relief.
If you have a bothersome cough
  • For children under 4 years old: The FDA recommends no over-the-counter cough and cold medications for children 4 years of age or younger. Plenty of liquids and rest can help children feel better. Honey can help soothe sore throats and coughs. (Honey is not safe for children under 1 year old.)
  • For adults only: Take a cough expectorant that contains guaifenesin (such as Mucinex®) for three days. This will thin mucus in your chest to make it easier to cough up – it's important to allow your body to cough up mucus to get better. Avoid multi-symptom versions, which often have extra letters in their name (such as Mucinex DM®).
  • For adults only: A cough suppressant should only be used when you need a rest or break from your cough. Use an over-the-counter cough medication that contains dextromethorphan (such as Delsym®) sparingly.
If you have sinus congestion or pain
  • For babies under 4 months old: A simple bulb syringe and saline nasal spray can be used to clear stuffy noses. Call your child’s doctor for other care instructions.
  • For all ages over 4 months old: Use acetaminophen to help relieve pain and reduce any fever. Follow age- and weight-appropriate dosing recommendations and the package instructions. Avoid stomach upset by taking with food or milk.
If your symptoms get worse or you develop new symptoms

If you need any help managing your symptoms – or they appear to be worsening – call your clinic or schedule a video visit. We’ll review your concerns and help create a custom treatment plan for you.

In an emergency, call 911 or go to your nearest hospital’s emergency room. If you can, wear a mask before emergency services arrive or you go to the emergency room.

Depending on your symptoms, age and risk factors, you may be prescribed antiviral pills or monoclonal antibody (mAb) treatment to help fight COVID-19. Follow your prescription exactly as directed.

  • If you have questions about whether you should be prescribed antiviral pills or mAb treatment, talk with your doctor. Supply of these treatment options is limited.
  • If you weren’t prescribed antiviral pills or mAb treatment, don’t worry – they’re not appropriate for everyone who has COVID-19.
  • Please note that because COVID-19 is a viral infection, antibiotics won’t help.
How do I get vaccinated against COVID-19?

We’re keeping our information up to date so you can get the latest details about COVID-19 vaccines, including availability and safety. Vaccines are available at several locations in Minnesota and western Wisconsin.

How can I avoid getting COVID-19?

To prevent getting COVID-19:

  • Get vaccinated. If you haven’t already, getting a COVID-19 vaccine is the most important thing you can do to avoid getting COVID-19.
    • If can’t be vaccinated because you’re allergic to components of the COVID-19 vaccine or you’re immunocompromised, your doctor may reach out to you and prescribe medicine that’s proven effective at preventing COVID-19. Supply of this medicine is limited.
  • If you can’t be vaccinated, wear a mask and practice social distancing. Take these precautions whenever you’re out in public or around people you don’t live with.
  • Wash your hands frequently. Use soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. If you can’t wash your hands, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60-95% alcohol.
More FAQs about COVID-19

Yes. To help keep our patients and communities safe, we’ve updated some of our patient and visitor policies.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has suggestions on whether children should attend or remain in school if they start to experience possible COVID-19 symptoms. Parents may find the MDH home screening tool helpful as they make choices about their children’s health care and school attendance.

COVID-19 symptoms can be similar to many other illnesses, including strep throat and the flu. That means having COVID-19 symptoms isn’t the same as having COVID-19.

If you have any questions about your child’s health care, please talk to their doctor for personalized advice.

Yes. We have made several safety changes to our locations to help you continue to receive top-quality care.

Especially if you need time-sensitive care – or you put care off during the pandemic – please don’t delay seeking treatment. Our locations are safe and ready to care for both COVID-19 and all your other health needs, including preventive care, annual wellness visits, eye exams and much more.

Call your clinic to schedule a visit, or you can make an appointment online.

Yes. We’re always here to help improve your health and well-being, regardless of what kind of care you’re looking for.

It’s important you continue the care you need to stay healthy. Whether that’s managing chronic conditions – or keeping up with your preventive care or physicals – our doctors and other specialists are ready to see you. If you put care off, it’s time to get caught up to help address any concerns you have now and set you up for great health later.

Not sure what kind of care you need these days? Call your clinic to schedule a visit, or you can make an appointment online.

Blood donations

Right now, there is a critical need for blood and platelets. The American Red Cross is facing a potential blood shortage due to COVID-19 concerns. We’re urging eligible, healthy donors to provide life-saving blood and platelets to patients.

Make an appointment or find a local blood drive:

You can also use the Red Cross’s RapidPass to reduce your wait time by making an appointment and filling out the health history questionnaire online.

Food donations

Members of our community are in need of food and essentials. You can help by giving through local nonprofits:

Financial donations

Our COVID-19 Response and Relief Fund continues to provide vital resources and equipment. Gifts help fund health care worker support, special needs equipment for patients, and more. Thank you to all who’ve donated – your generosity is making a difference for our patients, colleagues and communities!

You can donate to the COVID-19 Response and Relief Fund through one of our hospital foundations.

We recognize many of you may be worried about how COVID-19 may affect you or your family’s health. Advance care planning has long been an important element to our patient-centered care. Particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, it becomes even more important for us to know about your values and priorities for care.

If you have questions about how COVID-19 may affect you or the decisions you could need to make if you became very sick, we recommend that you talk with your doctor. This is especially important if you are over 65 or have an underlying medical condition.

We also encourage everyone 18 years old or older to complete a health care directive. You can find the forms needed as well as a variety of supporting resources throughout our advance care planning information page.

Where can I learn more about COVID-19?
For the latest updates on COVID-19, go to:

HealthPartners and Park Nicollet are following these three organizations’ prevention, screening, treatment and vaccination guidelines. We’re working closely with these organizations as well as other health care providers around Minnesota, Wisconsin and the country. View our COVID-19 preparedness plan (PDF).