Healthcare provider says to quarantine for 14 days if exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19

How do we stop the spread of COVID-19 now that it's everywhere? One valley healthcare provider says the key is knowing what to do when you've come into contact with someone who's tested positive.

"The best way for us to slow the spread in our community when there is so much going around is for people to be aware when they have been exposed and make sure they don't expose others."

As cases in Arizona continue to rise, Theresa Lindstrom, a physician's assistant at Step By Step Pediatrics, says it's imperative for people to know when they've been exposed to the virus, saying that the message of quarantining after testing positive is bad. It should have started before.

"if you think about that, one out a hundred people, each one of those people has close contact with a handful of people, right? People in their home or people they're working with," Lindstrom said. "And so the recommendations from the CDC and our Maricopa County Health Department is, if you've had close contact with someone who's tested positive, you should quarantine for 14 days. And the reason that's so important is that's how we slow the spread."

LIST: Coronavirus testing locations in Arizona

In Arizona, if you're experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, you can contact the following healthcare companies about getting a test:

Arizona health officials say there's community spread of the virus across the state.

Lindstrom says 1 in 100 people in Maricopa tested positive in the last three weeks.

"If you have been exposed to someone, you won't know yet that you are contagious until those symptoms show up, or sometimes you could be asymptomatic," Lindstrom said.

Symptoms for coronavirus COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. These, of course, are similar to the common cold and flu. 

Expect a common cold to start out with a sore or scratchy throat, cough, runny and/or stuffy nose. Flu symptoms are more intense and usually come on suddenly, and can include a high fever. 

Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear more slowly. They usually include fever, a dry cough and noticeable shortness of breath, according to the World Health Organization. A minority of cases develop pneumonia, and the disease is especially worrisome for the elderly and those with other medical problems such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes or heart conditions.

RELATED: Is it the flu, a cold or COVID-19? Different viruses present similar symptoms

Right now there's one big difference between flu and coronavirus: A vaccine exists to help prevent the flu and it's not too late to get it. It won't protect you from catching the coronavirus, but may put you in a better position to fight it.

To protect yourself, wash your hands well and often, keep them away from your face, and avoid crowds and standing close to people.

And if you do find yourself showing any of these flu or coronavirus symptoms - don't go straight to your doctor's office. That just risks making more people sick, officials urge. Call ahead, and ask if you need to be seen and where.

MAP: Worldwide interactive Coronavirus case data

MAP: Arizona Coronavirus cases by zip code

FULL COVERAGE: fox10phoenix.com/coronavirus

CDC: How coronavirus spreads, symptoms, prevention, treatment, FAQ

Arizona COVID-19 resources, FAQ: azdhs.gov/coronavirus

On CoronavirusNOW.com, you'll find extensive coverage about COVID-19, including breaking news from around the country, exclusive interviews with health officials, and informative content from a variety of public health resources.

In order to protect yourself from a possible infection, the CDC recommends: 

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Monitor your health daily