When Should I Be Tested for COVID-19?

While there are still guidelines for social distancing and wearing a mask, the recommendations are becoming more relaxed. Because you are around more people, you may be wondering if you should be getting tested for COVID-19. How do you know if you should be getting tested for the virus?

When to be tested for COVID-19

If a person has been exposed or in close contact with a confirmed case of the virus should be getting tested, whether they are experiencing symptoms or not. If we are able to identify the people who are infected early in the progression before they develop symptoms and implement public health interventions, we could prevent a large percentage of infections. 

It is fundamental because it has been learned that asymptomatic infection is a main force of the epidemic. If we find out who is asymptomatic, we will be able to prevent them from spreading the virus.

However, people who have not been exposed to someone who is infected, and they show no symptoms, they should not be tested. The incubation period for the virus is between five and seven days, but it can be up to two weeks. Being tested too prematurely after exposure, you could possibly have a false negative test. 

If you have a positive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) means that you have detectable viral RNA. It does not necessarily signify if you are infectious. Even with a positive PCR, it has been shown that for some people there was little to no culturable virus after about nine to ten days. Meaning, that a person who had an infection with the virus but tested long after they were no longer infectious to others. However, PCR can remain positive for several weeks after an active infection. You are detecting viral RNA but not that you are infectious to others. 

What to do if your test is positive

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that a positive test means you should isolate yourself at home for ten days.  It is important to note that the test is only helpful if you plan on actively protecting yourself and others. It is pointless to take the test if you are not planning on following the isolation guidelines if your test is determined to be positive. 

COVID-19 Testing in Natick & Marlborough, MA

Conclusively, you should be cautious of your surroundings and your health. Follow the guidelines that are set to protect our health and prevent the spread of the virus. If you notice that you are experiencing symptoms or have been around someone who you know is infected with the COVID-19, be vigilant about your testing. However, it is important not to become paranoid and overly test or test too soon if you do not have symptoms because it could cause inaccurate results. If you are in need of testing, visit AFC Urgent Care Natick for COVID-19 antibody and diagnostic swab testing.