When Should You Get Tested for COVID-19?

January 7, 2021

If you were recently around someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you’re probably wondering if you should get tested yourself. Even if you’re not exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19—fever, sore throat, shortness of breath, dry cough, and a new loss of taste or smell are some of the common symptoms—you may want to know for sure that you don’t have the virus. Otherwise, you’ll need to quarantine from others for a full 14 days, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, testing too early could result in a false negative so you’ll want to take the test in the right window of time to receive the most accurate results.

Get Tested 5 to 7 Days After Exposure

The best time to get tested for COVID-19 is five to seven days after exposure. That’s because the incubation period of the virus is 14 days, and it takes some time for it to build up in your system. If you get tested too early, your collected samples may not contain enough of COVID-19’s genetic material to register it as a positive result. The negative result simply means that your body did not contain high enough concentrated viral levels for a positive measurement.

What To Do While Waiting To Be Tested

While you’re waiting for the right time to be tested for COVID-19 and for your test results to come back (which can take a week or longer during peak periods), it’s important to quarantine at home. You’ll want to fully isolate from anyone else who lives with you by staying in a separate room and only leave your home for medically necessary appointments. Take notice of any symptoms you develop and check your temperature twice a day to monitor for fever.

What To Do If You Have a Positive COVID-19 Test

If you received a positive COVID-19 test, you’ll want to continue isolating yourself from others until 10 days have passed since you were tested for the virus. If you have not developed any symptoms in those 10 days, you are free to end your isolation then. However, if you are symptomatic, you should end your isolation only if all of the following parameters are met:

  • It has been 10 days since symptoms first appeared.
  • You have been fever-free for 24 hours (without using fever-reducing medication).
  • You have seen improvements in any other symptoms you had.

Please note that these situations refer only to people who have mild cases of COVID-19. Those with more severe cases or who are immunocompromised may require additional testing to determine when they can be around others.

COVID-19 Testing at PhysicianOne Urgent Care

PhysicianOne Urgent Care is pleased to offer COVID-19 testing at all of our facilities in New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. We can provide the PCR diagnostic test as well as the rapid antigen test. Some of our centers are also offering express PCR and rapid tests for anyone who wants to get tested and is not showing any symptoms.

To learn more about our COVID-19 testing services, click here. You can also contact us at 1-855-349-2828 with any questions you have.

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