Advice for Patients Regarding Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19, SARS-CoV) from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Watch for Symptoms of Coronavirus Disease 2019

Coronavirus is a flu-like illness.  Symptoms of the disease range from mild to severe and include fever, cough and/or shortness of breath. Some patients also complain of diarrhea or headache.

Who is at higher risk of complications from the disease?

Older adults, people who have serious chronic medical conditions like lung and heart disease or diabetes and those who take drugs that affect the immune system such as chemotherapy are at higher risk of complications of the disease. 

Testing for COVID-19

Testing involves obtaining a swab from your nose and/or throat and sending it to a lab to be tested.  Labs vary in terms of the amount of time it takes to get the results. While there is a limited supply of test kits, doctors will prioritize testing to those patients likely needing to be hospitalized and high-risk patients.  As more test kits become available, more people can be tested for COVID-19.  To prevent the potential spread of infection with testing, public health officials advocate testing in “drive thru” or open-air spaces.  Currently there are drive thru testing sites at Stony Brook University in Suffolk County and at Jones Beach in Nassau County through the New York State Department of Health.  Patients need to call 1-888-364-3065 ahead of time to make an appointment. Patients will be screened to determine need for testing.  The Stony Brook drive thru is located on the Stony Brook University campus South P Lot which is on South Drive off of Stony Brook Road in Stony Brook.  There is a Prohealth testing site in Jericho, New York.  Patients should check the website first at for instructions.

Actions that can reduce your risk of getting sick

  • Avoid contact with people who are sick
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing or having been in a public place.  While washing, sing Happy Birthday twice.
  • Avoid touching your face, nose, mouth and eyes
  • Avoid crowds especially in poorly ventilated spaces
  • Avoid all non-essential travel, including cruises and plane trips
  • Avoid gyms
  • Clean and disinfect your home, especially surfaces frequently touched
  • Clean your cell phone, computer keyboard, TV remote control
  • Stay at home as much as possible, especially if there is a COVID-19 outbreak in your community– avoid restaurants, movie theaters, large gatherings, public transportation, ride-shares and taxis
  • Consider a “telemedicine” visit instead of an in-office visit if offered

What to do if you get sick

  • Stay home and call your doctor or other health care professional.
  • Emergency warning signs that require getting immediate medical attention (i.e., a call to 911) include lasting pain or pressure in the chest, difficulty breathing, new onset of confusion or lethargy, bluish lips or face.
  • Do NOT go to work, school or public places and avoid public transportation
  • Monitor your symptoms – watch for fever, worsening illness (like difficulty breathing)
  • Talk to your health care provider about when it is safe to leave the house.  

Steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you are sick

  • Stay away from others as much as possible; use a separate bathroom if available
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your arm
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water OR a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
  • Avoid sharing personal household items
  • Clean all “high touch” surfaces daily (e.g., counters, tabletops, doorknobs, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets)
  • Disinfect areas with bodily fluids (urine, stool, blood, spit) with a household cleaner 
  • Limit contact with pets and animals; if you must care for a pet, wash your hands before and after you interact with your pet and wear a facemask.
  • Wear a facemask when around other people or when caring for others

Caring for yourself at Home

  • If you have a medical appointment, call ahead and alert the healthcare provider ahead of time that you have or may have COVID-19.  At Stony Brook, patients with symptoms of COVID-19 will be evaluated in a separate area.
  • Rest and stay well hydrated
  • Call 911 if you have a medical emergency; notify the dispatch personnel that you have or may have Coronavirus 2019
  • Avoid NSAIDs (Motrin, Advil, Ibuprofen, etc.).  Take Tylenol for fever unless you have a contraindication.