How Long After Exposure to COVID-19 before you Test Positive for COVID?
Being exposed to COVID-19 can be a nerve-wracking experience. Not only are you not sure if you’ve caught the novel coronavirus and potentially exposed others, but you’re also wondering what you should do next.
Should you simply quarantine for two weeks? Should you venture out and get tested? And if you are going to get tested, how long after exposure should you wait to take a test for the most accurate result?
Don’t worry. We can help make sense of this difficult time for you.
How Long After Exposure to COVID to Get Tested?
For those who are fully vaccinated and showing no symptoms, there’s no need to get tested. You should monitor for symptoms, though, for 14 days after your exposure. If you’re not vaccinated or only partially vaccinated, though, your first step after learning of your exposure to COVID is to get tested immediately. This is where the timing of your exposure comes into play.
It can take a couple of days after exposure to COVID-19 to become infected with the virus. So, if you get tested 24 hours after exposure and the test comes back negative, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)recommends testing again five to seven days later, even if you’re not exhibiting any symptoms.
For your initial test, make sure it’s a viral or PCR test – not a Rapid Test. While viral tests take longer to obtain a test result, they are more accurate at the early stages of the virus.
Quarantine at home while you await your test result.
If your viral test comes back negative, you can take a Rapid Test five to seven days later. If that test result comes back negative and you aren’t exhibiting any symptoms, there’s a strong chance you’re in the clear. The CDC still recommends quarantining for 14 days to be on the safe side.
What to Do If My COVID Test Comes Back Positive
If your first test is positive, you need to self-isolate at home for 14 days, even if you’re not exhibiting any symptoms. During this time, follow all best practices to slow the spread:
- Remain in a closed room if you don’t live alone (you can open windows for fresh air).
- Wear a mask when using a shared bathroom at your home.
- Notify people you may have recently been in contact with.
If you develop symptoms, make sure to receive any necessary medical care.
Get Tested for COVID Today
It’s important to get tested to slow the spread of the virus. If your exposure was more than 3 days ago, you can rely on a Rapid Test for the fastest test results.