What To Do After Covid
After coming into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you should either:
- self-quarantine at home for five days, then get tested
- self-quarantine at home for at least 10 days, if you dont want to get tested and remain symptom-free
People may spread COVID-19 as soon as two to three days before developing symptoms which occur on average 5 to 7 days after exposure, with some cases lasting as long as 14 days. If you live with or care for people who are at risk for severe illness from COVID-19, consider self-quarantining for the full 14 days.
Self-quarantining after exposure should help to limit the spread of the virus in your home and community, even if you feel fine.
How Do I Know If I Have Covid
COVID-19 often causes symptoms similar to those a person with a bad cold or the flu would experience. And like the flu, the symptoms can progress and become life-threatening.
So far there has been much less than the usual number of cases of influenza, likely due to the enhanced public health measures to prevent the spread of COVID.
Therefore, at the current time, people with “flulike” symptoms should assume they have COVID. That means isolating and contacting your doctor or local board of health to arrange testing.
Practise Good Hand And Respiratory Hygiene And Keep Your Home Well Ventilated
Everyone should practise good hand and respiratory hygiene.
Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser, particularly after coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose and before you eat or handle food. Clean your hands frequently and avoid touching your face.
Cover your mouth and nose with disposable tissues when you cough or sneeze. If you do not have a tissue, cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow, not into your hand.
Dispose of tissues into a rubbish bag and immediately wash your hands.
Keep indoor areas well-ventilated with fresh air, especially shared living areas. To increase the flow of air you can:
- open windows as much as possible
- open doors
- make sure that any vents are open and airflow is not blocked
- leave extractor fans running for longer than usual with the door closed after use
You can find more advice on reducing the risks from COVID-19 in your home at GermDefence.
How Can I Prevent The Virus From Spreading In The Home To Others
Have the person stay in one room, away from other people, including yourself, as much as possible. If possible, have them use a separate bathroom. In addition:
- Avoid sharing personal household items, like dishes, towels, and bedding
- If facemasks are available, have them wear a facemask when they are around people, including you.
- If the sick person cant wear a facemask, you should wear one while in the same room with them, if facemasks are available. If you do not have a facemask, you can use a bandana or scarf as an alternative.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after interacting with the sick person.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Avoid having any unnecessary visitors.
- Limit contact with pets & animals. You should restrict the sick persons contact with pets and other animals, just like you would around other people. See COVID-19 and Animals for more information.
- Regularly clean and disinfect all surfaces that are touched often, like counters, tabletops, sink handles, and doorknobs.
- Wash laundry thoroughly. If laundry is soiled, wear disposable gloves and keep the soiled items away from your body while laundering. Wash your hands immediately after removing gloves.
Exposure To Someone With Covid
Quarantine prevents the spread of COVID-19 by asking people who might be infected to stay away from others until enough time has passed to be sure they dont have COVID-19. If you are a household member or a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you should stay at home and away from others and monitor yourself for symptoms.
If you were within 6 feet of a person with COVID-19 for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period or had physical contact with a person with COVID-19, you need to stay in quarantine at home for 10 days.
Quarantine can end after Day 10 without testing if no symptoms have been reported during daily monitoring.
Note: a negative test might allow you to end quarantine after 7 full days following your last exposure if you have not had any symptoms. See our quarantine guidance for information about ending quarantine after 7 full days following your last exposure.
Recommended Reading: How Much Is Covid Test At Cvs
Do I Need To Be Tested Or Can I Wait And See If I Get Symptoms
If you were within 6 feet of your friend for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period, or you had close contact with her secretions for instance, you were coughed or sneezed on, you shared drinking glasses or utensils, you kissed, etc. the Virginia Department of Health recommends that you stay at home for 14 days since you last saw her and practice social distancing, staying at least 6 feet away from other people in your household.
The safest thing to do is to quarantine for the full 14 days. However, for people who cannot do this, there is an option to leave quarantine early with a negative PCR or antigen test performed on or after Day 5 following exposure.
What Is Meant By A Contact
A contact is a person who has been close to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. You can be a contact any time from 2 days before the person who tested positive developed their symptoms , and up to 10 days after, as this is when they can pass the infection on to others. A risk assessment may be undertaken to determine this, but a contact can be:
- anyone who lives in the same household as another person who has COVID-19 symptoms or has tested positive for COVID-19
- anyone who has had any of the following types of contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19:
- face-to-face contact including being coughed on or having a face-to-face conversation within one metre
- been within one metre for one minute or longer without face-to-face contact
- been within 2 metres of someone for more than 15 minutes
A person may also be a close contact if they have travelled in the same vehicle or plane as a person who has tested positive for COVID-19.
If you have been identified as a contact, you have been assessed as being at risk of developing COVID-19, even if you dont currently have symptoms. You should follow all the guidance in this document.
An interaction through a Perspex screen with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 is not usually considered to be a contact, as long as there has been no other contact such as those in the list above.
Read Also: Cvs Covid Testing Result Time
How Long Are You Contagious With Covid
How infectious someone is depends on how much virus theyre carrying and how much of this virus is able to multiply.
An extensive study in the Lancet Microbe has found that people are most likely to pass on COVID-19 during the first 5 days of symptoms starting. The study found that the amount of active virus in peoples throat particles peaked in the first 5 days from symptoms starting. No active virus was found after 9 days of symptoms starting, so its unlikely that the majority of these people would be very infectious beyond those 9 days.
Its still important to always follow self-isolation rules and social distancing guidelines, to prevent the spread of the virus.
What Is The Difference Between A Pcr Test And An Antigen Test For Covid
PCR tests and antigen tests are both diagnostic tests, which means that they can be used to determine whether you currently have an active coronavirus infection. However, there are important differences between these two types of tests.
PCR tests detect the presence of the virus’s genetic material using a technique called reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, or RT-PCR. For this test, a sample may be collected through a nasal or throat swab, or a saliva sample may be used. The sample is typically sent to a laboratory where coronavirus RNA is extracted from the sample and converted into DNA. The DNA is then amplified, meaning that many of copies of the viral DNA are made, in order to produce a measurable result. The accuracy of any diagnostic test depends on many factors, including whether the sample was collected properly, when during the course of illness the testing was done, and whether the sample was maintained in appropriate conditions while it was shipped to the laboratory. Generally speaking, PCR tests are highly accurate. However, it can take days to over a week to get the results of a PCR test.
It may be helpful to think of a COVID antigen test as you would think of a rapid strep test or a rapid flu test. A positive result for any of these tests is likely to be accurate, and allows diagnosis and treatment to begin quickly, while a negative result often results in further testing to confirm or overturn the initial result.
Recommended Reading: How Much Is Covid Test At Cvs
Diagnostic Tests For Current Infection
If you want to know whether or not you have the virus, there are two types of tests: molecular tests and antigen testing.
How is it done? Nasal swabs, throat swabs, and tests of saliva or other bodily fluids.
Where can you get this test? At a hospital, in a medical office, in your car, or even at home. The FDA has authorized a home molecular test that requires no prescription.
What does the test look for? Molecular tests look for genetic material that comes only from the virus.
How long does it take to get results? It depends on lab capacity. Results may be ready within hours, but often take at least a day or two. Much longer turnaround times are reported in many places.
What about accuracy? The rate of false negatives a test that says you dont have the virus when you actually do have the virus varies depending on how long infection has been present: in one study, the false-negative rate was 20% when testing was performed five days after symptoms began, but much higher earlier in infection.
The false positive rate that is, how often the test says you have the virus when you actually do not should be close to zero. Most false-positive results are thought to be due to lab contamination or other problems with how the lab has performed the test, not limitations of the test itself.
How is it done? A nasal or throat swab.
Where can you get these tests? At a hospital, a doctors office or at home .
If You Come In Contact With Someone With A Breakthrough Infection
The CDC updated its guidance for vaccinated people on July 28, adding that even fully vaccinated people should get tested for Covid three to five days after a known exposure, regardless of their symptoms. People who are exposed should also wear masks in public indoor spaces for 14 days after exposure until a negative test is confirmed.
You May Like: How Long Cvs Covid Test Results
Why Is It Recommended To Wear A Mask During Covid
SARS-CoV-2 infection is transmitted predominately by respiratory droplets generated when people cough, sneeze, sing, talk, or breathe. CDC recommends community use of masks, specifically non-valved multi-layer cloth masks, to prevent transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Masks are primarily intended to reduce the emission of virus-laden droplets , which is especially relevant for asymptomatic or presymptomatic infected wearers who feel well and may be unaware of their infectiousness to others, and who are estimated to account for more than 50% of transmissions.1,2 Masks also help reduce inhalation of these droplets by the wearer . The community benefit of masking for SARS-CoV-2 control is due to the combination of these effects individual prevention benefit increases with increasing numbers of people using masks consistently and correctly.
Why You Should Quarantine After Exposure To Covid
If you’ve been exposed to the novel coronavirus, your first instinct might be to run out for a test, but being tested for COVID-19 too early in the incubation period could deliver a false sense of security and lead you to engage in risky behaviors that could cause others to become infected.
“Someone can get a positive test result as soon as two days after exposure, but we typically ask our patients to wait at least five days for most accurate test results,” Nailah Abdulbaaqee, MD, a primary-care provider at One Medical in Atlanta, told POPSUGAR.
However, there are no set guidelines for when a person with a known exposure should be tested for COVID-19, and a negative result early on in the two weeks after exposure is no excuse to skip the recommended quarantine. “Testing too early may show you are negative for COVID-19, but this does not mean that you cannot test positive later in the 14-day window,” said Kristin Dean, MD, a family medicine physician and medical director at Doctor On Demand. “COVID-19 symptoms may develop up to 14 days after the day of the last exposure to COVID-19.”
It’s difficult to nail down a timeline for testing because people can respond differently to the virus based on their individual immune system and the type of exposure that occurred, Dr. Dean explained. Additionally, “the virus takes time to replicate after exposure. Sometimes the virus circulating in your body is not sufficient to show up as positive on a COVID-19 test.”
Don’t Miss: Cvs Covid Test Results Delay
Legal Requirements For Self
You could be fined if you do not stay at home and self-isolate following a positive test result for COVID-19, or if you are a contact of someone who has tested positive, and you are notified by NHS Test and Trace that you need to self-isolate. It is also an offence to knowingly provide false information about your close contacts to NHS Test and Trace. Failure to comply with these requirements may result in a fine of up to £10,000. These regulations will only apply in England.
For the purposes of this guidance this includes Test and Trace contact tracers/call handlers, local authority contact tracers working with NHS Test and Trace, Public Health England health protection teams and NHS staff
How Reliable Are The Tests For Covid
Two types of diagnostic tests are currently available in the US. PCR tests detect viral RNA. Antigen tests, also called rapid diagnostic tests, detect specific proteins on the surface of the coronavirus. Antigen test results may come back in as little as 15 to 45 minutes you may wait several days or longer for PCR test results.
The accuracy of any diagnostic test depends on many factors, including whether the sample was collected properly. For PCR tests, which are typically analyzed in a laboratory, test results may be affected by the conditions in which the test was shipped to the laboratory.
Results may also be affected by the timing of the test. For example, if you are tested on the day you were infected, your test result is almost guaranteed to come back negative, because there are not yet enough viral particles in your nose or saliva to detect. The chance of getting a false negative test result decreases if you are tested a few days after you were infected, or a few days after you develop symptoms.
Generally speaking, if a test result comes back positive, it is almost certain that the person is infected.
A negative test result is less definite. There is a higher chance of false negatives with antigen tests. If you have a negative result on an antigen test, your doctor may order a PCR test to confirm the result.
Recommended Reading: Why Does Everything Taste Bad To Me Suddenly
Caring For Someone With Covid
Most people who get sick with COVID-19 will have only mild illness and recover at home with plenty of rest and lots of fluids. Care at home can help stop the spread of COVID-19 and help protect people who are at risk for getting seriously ill from COVID-19.
Adults over 65 and people of any age with certain serious underlying medical conditions like lung disease, heart disease, or diabetes are at higher risk for developing severe disease from COVID-19 illness and should seek medical care as soon as symptoms start.
If you are caring for someone at home, monitor for emergency signs of worsening health, help prevent the spread of germs, provide symptom care, and understand time frames for when to end home isolation. Keep their healthcare providers contact information in a visible place for easy reference.
How Long Should I Stay Isolated At Home
It can be confusing to know how long you should isolate at home. Public Health has created a home isolation decision-maker tool to help you know when it’s safe to be around others after being sick with COVID-19.
The length of time you should isolate at home depends on several factors:
- Been tested for COVID-19, what type of test was done, and what the result of the test was
- Had any symptoms consistent with COVID-19
- Been admitted to an Intensive Care Unit for your illness and
- If you are severely immunocompromised.
For your reference, you may also view and download the Home Isolation Guidelines.
Don’t Miss: How Long Cvs Covid Test Results