Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

For patients

Telehealth during the COVID-19 emergency

Telehealth may be a helpful option any time, but it’s especially important to know about during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Virtual visits protect you — and your doctor — from possibly spreading or getting COVID-19.

If you’re having a medical emergency, call 911. If you aren’t sure, read when to seek emergency care.

I’m worried that I have COVID-19.

If you think you may have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it, it’s critical that you self-isolate. Follow these steps to get the care you need.

Start by using a COVID-19 self-assessment tool.

For everyone’s safety — and to reduce the burden on the health care system — use an automated COVID-19 self-assessment tool before you contact a doctor. Here are two self-assessment tools based on information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

A self-assessment tool will ask you a few questions about:

  • Any symptoms you have
  • Whether you’ve been in close physical contact with someone who’s been diagnosed with COVID-19
  • Whether you live in a community where a lot of people have been diagnosed with COVID-19
  • Any medical conditions that put you at high risk for complications if you get COVID-19

If you don’t need emergency care, talking to a doctor through telehealth may be a good solution.

Many doctors are now providing telehealth services. Contact your doctor or health insurance to ask about your options. There are also health centers and on-demand telehealth services available to everyone, including people who don’t have health insurance.

See finding telehealth options for details.

Did you know?

If you have trouble paying for phone or internet services, you may qualify for federal support through the Lifeline program exit disclaimer icon .

Write down what to tell the doctor.

If you’re going to contact a doctor about COVID-19, here are the important things to write down ahead of time:

  • Your symptoms — What are they and when they started
  • Your health — Any other health conditions you have and whether you’ve been able to take care of them during the pandemic
  • Exposure to COVID-19 — If you’ve definitely been exposed, how, and when
  • Your questions — If there’s anything specific you want to know about, either about your own health or the health of other people in your home

It’s important to take care of ourselves during this stressful time — especially since stress and anxiety can make other health problems harder to deal with. If you have a health concern, don’t ignore it. Contact your doctor for their advice.

See finding telehealth options for details.

Tip: Check out these tips on protecting yourself from COVID-19 fraud.

Last updated: January 13, 2021