Therefore, you have come across someone with COVID-19. When should you be tested?


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By prevention

If you know that you have made someone aware of the case of COVID-19, then you probably have questions about what to do next. First, because the novel coronavirus takes two to 14 days of incubation — you have to quarantine for two weeks to feel sick or not in that timeframe.

Then, you should consider testing so that you can confirm whether you have picked up the virus yourself. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that the following people be tested for COVID-19:

  • People who have symptoms of COVID-19

  • People who have any contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 (for a total of 15 minutes or more within 6 feet for a period of 24 hours)

  • People who have been asked or referred to be tested by their healthcare provider or local or state health department

However, COVID-19 tests are not exactly known for their accuracy – and because it is a relatively new virus that scientists are still studying, it is difficult to predict its behavior from person-to-person. When should you get tested after someone comes in contact with COVID-19? We asked the doctors to weigh.

How long does it take for a person to show COVID-19 symptoms after being infected?

If you are exposed to COVID-19, it is unlikely that you will develop symptoms soon thereafter. Just in case you need a refresher from the CDC, the main symptoms include:

Why is the timing of a COVID-19 test so important?

Infectious disease specialist Amesh A. Adalja, MD, MD of Johns Hopkins Center, Senior Pathologist Amesh A. Adalja says, if you get tested immediately after exposure to the novel coronavirus (novel, the next day), the results will come negative. health Protection. This is because you need a certain viral load (the amount of virus present in your body) to detect the test.

A false negative can be dangerous, because you can proceed to spread the virus without realizing it. “If you get tested and you’re positive, well, you need to be isolated. If you’re negative, it doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods until the incubation period (two weeks) ends. , ”Says Thomas Russo, MD, professor and head of infectious disease at the University of Buffalo in New York.

For example, a meta-analysis of seven studies published in Anal of internal medicine Found that the probability of a false negative test result decreases by 100% on day 1, after a 64% risk on day four. On the day someone develops symptoms, they were, on average, 38% more likely to take an incorrect reading. It decreased to 20% three days after symptom onset.

A study by the American College of Cardiology also found that most people develop up to five days after the symptoms are revealed and up to a day before their symptoms begin and up to two days before symptoms develop. Are contagious.

When should you get tested after being exposed to COVID-19?

The CDC has not released any official guidance on testing after coronavirus exposure – and doctors have mixed opinions. Given this, it is best to do what your doctor recommends, as they will be more aware of your health history and circumstances. The experts we talked to usually agree on the following testing guidelines:

-If you have symptoms

Lewis Nelson, president of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, recommends waiting to be tested until you develop symptoms. “While it is not optimal in some cases to wait for symptoms, it may be the most practical answer,” he says. Why? According to the CDC’s recommendations, you should be quarantined for at least 14 days after close contact with someone with COVID-19 anyway.

You should contact your doctor about how you are feeling and need isolation. “If you are feeling very ill, especially having shortness of breath, you should go to the emergency department, just as you would for any other medical emergency,” Dr. Nelson says. “Regardless, be very open about the risks and risks of having COVID-19. Although we are universally cautious, additional awareness is helpful. “

-If you don’t have the first week’s symptoms

Dr. Adalja recommends waiting at least four days to test, to see if the virus builds up in your body.

-If about two weeks are symptom-free, but you definitely want to know

Dr. Russo recommends waiting a long time – up to day 12 – if you have an asymptomatic case of the virus. “One could argue that if you’re going to quarantine anyway, the value of the test lies primarily in the fact that, if you’re positive, contact tracing can occur,” he says.

Remember, if you know that you are in contact with someone with COVID-19, You should skip both before and after testing. If you receive a positive test result and do not develop symptoms or a negative result, you should continue quarantine for 14 days even after you are exposed due to the incubation period.

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