What you need to know about COVID‐19
What is COVID‐19?
An outbreak of the new coronavirus called COVID‐19 began in December 2019. The virus causes respiratory illness and has infected thousands of people worldwide. As of March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization has declared the situation a pandemic. Thousands of cases have been reported in the United States.
What are the symptoms of COVID‐19?
Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death. Older adults, as well as people with underlying chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease, seem to be at higher risk for developing serious complications with COVID‐19.
How does it spread?
The virus spreads through the air from coughing and sneezing and also from close personal contact like touching or shaking hands. It may be possible that a person can get COVID‐19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
How to help prevent the spread of coronavirus
- Follow social distancing guidance by maintaining 6 feet between people outside your family
- Wash your hands often
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
- When you sneeze, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Aim for eight hours of sleep each night
- Eat a well-balanced diet
Learn tactics to help protect your workplace, school, home and commercial establishment to help decrease the spread of the coronavirus.
How we can help
We offer services that may help minimize your exposure to risk or if you are experiencing illness.
Get free delivery* on Rx & other store essentials
Plan a Video Visit*
Schedule a MinuteClinic® visit
Consider a 90‐day Rx supply & early refills
Contact your CVS Pharmacy to learn if your prescriptions are eligible.
Watch how free Rx delivery can help you stay safe and stay well.
Keep informed during the outbreak
Additional frequently asked questions about COVID‐19
How can you protect yourself or others from COVID‐19?
Although there are currently no vaccines available to protect against human coronavirus infection, you may be able to reduce your risk of infection by washing your hands often; avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands; and avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
If you have cold‐like symptoms, as a courtesy to your co-workers and others, please remain at home while you are sick.
- Along these lines, CVS Pharmacy is waiving charges for home delivery of prescription medications. With the CDC encouraging people at higher risk for COVID‐19 complications to stay at home as much as possible, this is a convenient option to avoid coming to the pharmacy for refills or new prescriptions.
What should you do if you suspect you or someone else has contracted COVID‐19?
Most people with common human coronavirus illness will recover on their own. Although there are no specific treatments for illnesses caused by human coronaviruses, you can take the following actions to help relieve symptoms if you are mildly sick:
- Take pain and fever medications. Ask your pharmacist how they may interact with any medications you currently take. Caution: The CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend not giving aspirin to children.
- Use a room humidifier or take a hot shower to help ease a sore throat and cough.
- Drink plenty of liquids.
- Stay home and rest.
At this time, we are not able to test for the COVID‐19 virus inside MinuteClinic. If a patient develops emergency warning signs for COVID‐19 they should seek out medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include (but are not limited to):
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to arouse
- Bluish lips or face
Am I at risk for COVID‐19 from shipped packages or products?
We are still learning about COVID‐19 and how it spreads. At this time, please follow CDC guidance regarding packages provided on the DC How It Spreads website.
Who should be tested for COVID‐19?
The CDC recommends that anyone with symptoms of COVID-19, returning from a Centers for Disease Control designated Level 2 or Level 3 advisory area, or who has been in contact with someone who is suspected or confirmed of having the coronavirus within the last 14 days should be tested.
How can I access COVID‐19 testing?
Patients who have concerns that they may have been exposed to COVID‐19 or who may have symptoms of COVID‐19 should contact their health care provider to determine the need for a test.
I asked for a COVID-19 test but my doctor said I don’t need one. What are my options?
Your doctor is in the best position to advise if testing is needed based on your symptoms. With tests in limited supply, providers are using a strict set of guidelines to determine when testing is appropriate.
If your symptoms change, contact your doctor again.
Can you describe the process during a Video Visit* if COVID‐19 is suspected?
If a patient requests a MinuteClinic Video Visit™ and is concerned about COVID‐19, or if a Video Visit patient presents with symptoms of a lower respiratory tract illness (e.g., fever, cough and/or shortness of breath), we follow CDC‐recommended screening protocol to ask about their recent travel history (e.g., timeframe and location), potential community exposure and other relevant risk factors to determine their risk of exposure to COVID-19.
If it is determined the patient may be at risk for COVID‐19, the Video Visit provider will connect with the local health department to determine the appropriate next steps and will connect the patient with the health department if testing for the virus is recommended.
What is MinuteClinic doing to protect patients from COVID‐19?
The safety of our patients, providers and colleagues is our number one concern. As a temporary measure, MinuteClinic is taking the following actions to help support efforts to reduce the spread of COVID‐19 in our communities:
- MinuteClinic is no longer accepting walk‐in patients. All patients must make an appointment online on the MinuteClinic website or with the CVS Pharmacy app.
- Patients making an appointment will be pre‐screened outside of the clinic to determine if it is the right site of care for their symptoms. If the pre‐screen identifies the patient to be at risk for COVID‐19 they will receive guidance on how to access care in a different health care setting.
- Patients with scheduled appointments at their local MinuteClinic are required to wait in their personal vehicles or outside the store until the MinuteClinic provider texts or calls them in for their scheduled visits.
What will happen if patients come into the clinic without making an appointment first?
The safety of our patients, providers and colleagues is our number one concern. As a temporary measure, we are only accepting scheduled visits at our MinuteClinic locations for the time being.
If a patient arrives at the clinic without an appointment, there will be signage to let them know we are not accepting walk‐in patients for the time being. The signage will direct them to make an appointment at MinuteClinic.com or with the CVS Pharmacy app. The sign‐in kiosk will be disabled.
This information will also be posted online.
Patients can make an appointment using their mobile devices but are required to do so outside of the store or while waiting in their personal vehicles.
Why can't patients wait for their appointments in the store?
Our goal is to provide safe, high‐quality care and to ensure our patients and providers are protected.
In line with CDC and State Health Department guidance for infection control and prevention, and in the interest of keeping our providers, store colleagues and patients safe during this time, MinuteClinic has developed a temporary COVID‐19 waiting room protocol.
Patients with scheduled appointments at their local MinuteClinic are required to wait in their personal vehicles or outside the store. When it is time for the patient's scheduled visit, the MinuteClinic provider will call or text the patient on the number they provided when they set up the appointment.
Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.
What happens if a patient comes to MinuteClinic and might have COVID‐19?
Our goal is to provide safe, high‐quality care and to ensure our patients and providers are protected. At this time, we are not able to test for the COVID‐19 virus inside MinuteClinic.
Patients making an appointment will be pre‐screened outside of the clinic to determine if it is the right site of care for their symptoms. If the pre‐screen identifies the patient to be at risk for COVID‐19 they will receive guidance on how to access care in a different health care setting, such as with their primary care physician or local health department.
Where can I get more information?