COVID-19 Information | MedStar Health

What MedStar Health is doing

The health of our patients, providers, staff, and visitors is our top priority. Our clinicians are well prepared to accurately screen for risk of COVID-19, respond effectively to prevent further spread, and offer the most appropriate and up-to-date treatments. We follow the guidance of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) so patients affected by COVID-19 can receive the care they need while protecting the health and safety of our providers, associates and the community at large.

Visitor policies and guidance

Click here to read MedStar Health's support persons policy.
Click here to read MedStar Health’s current visitor policy.

What is the face mask policy for patients and visitors?

Given reduced regional COVID-19 transmission levels, MedStar Health, in alignment with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Departments of Health, moved to the following face mask optional guidance across all MedStar Health locations, effective April 10, 2023:

  • Face masks (N95 respirators or procedure masks) are optional for all asymptomatic associates, patients, and visitors, including those in clinical areas.
  • Anyone with symptoms (including patients and visitors) must continue to mask in our facilities.
  • Providers may still order masking in a patient’s room, especially for those patients at higher risk of infection.
  • Patients may request that providers and associates wear a face mask in their room or treatment area.
  • Face masks will be available onsite for patients, visitors, and associates.

Our brand promise, It’s how we treat people, reflects our commitment to treat our patients, visitors, and associates with respect and dignity. Our masking guidelines are subject to change based on transmission levels of infectious diseases and/or direction from the CDC or Departments of Health.

About COVID-19

Is COVID-19 still a concern?

Thanks to vaccination, testing, treatments, and prevention measures, hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID are low. However, the virus is still active because of community spread and the development of new variants. Most people recover from this infection, after only mild or moderate symptoms. However, some COVID-19 infections can lead to long COVID, serious illness, and in some cases death. If someone develops a more serious illness from COVID-19, they may be admitted to the hospital. Older people and those with pre-existing medical conditions have a greater risk for serious illness. Examples of pre-existing conditions are: cancer, diabetes, heart disease, underlying lung disease, or other conditions impacting the ability of the body’s immune system to fight germs.


The first and best step you can take to prevent getting sick or spreading COVID-19 is to get vaccinated. In addition, everyday preventive steps that are always recommended to slow the spread of respiratory illnesses, like colds and flu:

Infographic that outlines the ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including washing hands, avoiding close contact with others, avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth, monitoring for symptoms, cleaning surfaces regularly, covering your cough or sneeze, staying home when you are sick, and wearing a mask.

If you do have symptoms, get tested as soon as possible. If you are positive, you may return to normal activities when, for at least 24 hours, symptoms are improving overall, and if a fever was present, it has been gone without use of a fever-reducing medication. Discuss the details of isolation (how long to isolate, how long to wear a mask around others, etc.) with your healthcare provider. You can also refer to the the CDC’s respiratory virus guidance.


COVID-19 vaccinations are FDA-approved for anyone 6 months of age and older. Talk to your healthcare provider or visit the CDC website for the most up-to-date information regarding your personal recommendations for vaccination. Your healthcare provider can discuss individual recommendations for COVID-19 vaccination and booster timing, or you may visit the CDC’s website for more information.

Vaccine frequently asked questions

  • Where can I receive the vaccine?

    MedStar Health is pleased to vaccinate residents of any state and the District of Columbia, ages six months and older. Most MedStar Health primary care practices are offering the COVID-19 vaccine. If you are a current MedStar Health primary care patient, please contact your primary care provider’s office or send a message via the myMedStar patient portal.

    If you are not a current MedStar Health primary care patient, visit to find one of our expert primary care providers to partner with you in meeting your health needs.

  • Where can I get a record of receiving the vaccine?

    Your immunization record can be printed via the myMedStar patient portal. If you don’t already have an account, you can enroll by visiting and clicking “Enroll in myMedStar.” Once enrolled, go to the Health Record on the left navigation bar and click the option for “COVID Center.” MedStar Health is pleased to offer the COVID-19 vaccine SMART Health Card. In the COVID Center, you will be able to print your vaccine SMART card or take a screenshot of it. Then, you can present the QR code to any entity that accepts SMART Health Cards. When the entity scans your personal QR code, it will receive your COVID-19 vaccination information. It receives only your COVID-19 vaccination information and no other health information about you.

  • Where can I get more information about the COVID-19 vaccines?

    The CDC and FDA websites have good information about the vaccine and the pandemic.


Symptoms of COVID-19 include: fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Other symptoms include: congestion or runny nose; fatigue; sore throat; loss of taste and/or smell; nausea or vomiting; headache; diarrhea; and body aches.

cough fever respiratory problems graphic

What should I do if I am experiencing symptoms of a respiratory illness (cough, fever, and shortness of breath)?

Please consider the following actions:

Severe illness:

If you are experiencing a medical emergency (such as severe shortness of breath, chest pain, or altered mental status), please call 911 and request an ambulance.

Moderate or mild illness:

MedStar Health also offers easy-to-use telehealth options to help screen and treat your illness. We have clinicians available 24/7 through MedStar eVisit, our virtual urgent care platform. Enroll at or download the free iOS or Android mobile app, MedStar eVisit, from the App Store. 

medstar evisit logo

If you are experiencing mild or moderate symptoms and do not wish to use MedStar eVisit, please do not go directly to your doctor’s office or emergency department without calling first. A phone call allows our team to determine the best location for you to be evaluated. In some cases this phone call may allow you to avoid an in-person evaluation, which helps minimize exposure to the public from those with less severe symptoms.

You also can visit one of more than 30 MedStar Health Urgent Care locations. When you need convenient medical care for an illness or injury that is not life-threatening, MedStar Health Urgent Care is here for you. Reserve your spot in line with online check-in.

Testing options

MedStar Health remains committed to providing the most appropriate and timely access to COVID-19 testing. 

Testing for those with COVID-19 symptoms

MedStar Health Primary Care

If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and want to establish care with a primary care provider, many MedStar Health primary care locations are offering evaluations with COVID-19 testing by appointment.

Visit to schedule. Find a MedStar Health primary care location near me.

MedStar eVisit (Telehealth)

If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, MedStar eVisit providers are available for telehealth visits 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help manage symptoms, understand quarantine, and review options for testing. Start your appointment with a MedStar eVisit provider now.

MedStar Health Urgent Care

If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, please book online ahead of time at one of our MedStar Health Urgent Care locations. Find a MedStar Health Urgent Care location near me.

If you are experiencing a medical emergency (such as severe shortness of breath, chest pain or altered mental status), please call 911 and request an ambulance.

State Testing Resources

Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., have detailed information about COVID-19 testing options on state's sites. For COVID-19 testing locations throughout each state, please click below to view your state's site information.

Find a testing site near me.

Washington, D.C.
Find a testing site near me.

Find a testing site near me.

At-Home Testing Options

Currently, there are two ways to test at home for the virus that causes COVID-19: molecular testing (PCR) and antigen testing. PCR testing has been used since the pandemic began and is considered to be the “gold standard“ by the CDC.

Testing Frequently Asked Questions

  • When should I do a COVID-19 home test?

    COVID-19 home tests (or self-tests) are available over the counter or online for use without the order of a medical provider. These convenient tests can be used to rapidly determine whether you have COVID-19 and should self-isolate prior to gathering indoors (especially with those who are unvaccinated or immunocompromised) or after exposure or developing COVID-19 symptoms.

    Make sure to purchase a home test that is currently authorized for use by the FDA and always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions when testing. Do not use if the test is past the expiration date. Note: The FDA has extended the expiration dates for some test kits. You can visit the FDA’s website to verify the expiration date of your home kit.

    If you test positive, isolate immediately and inform your school, employer, and any close contacts. You may return to normal activities when, for at least 24 hours, symptoms are improving overall, and if a fever was present, it has been gone without use of a fever-reducing medication. Please report your positive test to your local department of health. Most home tests have information on how to do this.

    If you test negative, you may still have COVID-19, especially if you did not have any symptoms at the time of the test. Testing again within 24 hours increases the sensitivity of the test for those without symptoms but can still provide false-negative results. If you are worried that you might have COVID-19 or have ongoing symptoms despite a negative test result, contact your health care provider right away to discuss next steps.

  • I (or my loved one) have COVID-19. When should we return to work/school/day care?

    Individuals should not return to work, school, or daycare until their isolation period has ended. Typically, this is no sooner than 5 days following a positive COVID-19 test or onset of symptoms. Certain individuals, such as those who work in health care, may be able to return to work sooner if they test positive but do not have symptoms. Consult with your local health department, employer, school, or day care center, as guidance may vary based on employer, school district, or local rules and regulations.

  • Do I need to be retested after testing positive?

    The CDC does not currently recommend repeating a test after testing positive. Under certain conditions, for instance testing positive with a rapid test when you do not have any symptoms, a follow-up swab may be sent out to the lab to confirm the results. However, you may end your recommended isolation without repeating a swab following a positive result. You may need a repeat test if required by school, your employer, or local rules or regulations.


Most individuals with COVID symptoms don’t require anything other than over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. However, if your symptoms are more severe, or you are at a higher risk for complications, please call your doctor for guidance.

There are a few options for the treatment of COVID-19 for patients at high risk for severe disease. Treatments must be started within 5 days of the start of COVID-19 symptoms. To discuss your treatment options please connect with one of our trusted healthcare providers here: 

MedStar e-Visit logo

Download the MedStar eVisit app

Download now for your Apple or Android device.

To better understand the available treatments and which treatments are appropriate for you, we encourage you to seek guidance from a healthcare provider:

  • If you have a MedStar Health Primary Care provider, contact your provider and notify them that you have symptoms of possible COVID-19 (or a positive COVID-19 test if applicable).

  • If you do not have a MedStar Health Primary Care provider but would like to see one for an evaluation of your COVID-19 symptoms, click here to find a provider.

  • MedStar Health Urgent Care locations also offer COVID-19 testing and evaluation for available treatments. Click here to find Urgent Care center near you.

  • MedStar eVisit providers are available for telehealth visits 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help manage symptoms, understand quarantine, and review options for testing. Start your appointment with a MedStar eVisit provider now.

MedStar Health is working with local and federal health officials to provide the most current treatments for patients diagnosed with COVID-19 who are at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19 disease. More information on COVID-19 therapeutics, as well as the Federal COVID-19 Therapeutics Locator may be found at the links below:

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Updated March 20, 2024