There is so much information in the press about COVID-19 and how to stay safe. But what if you think you have it? Or you’ve been in close contact with someone who has it? What should you do? The CDC guidelines are constantly being updated and recommendations change frequently.
Here are some tips that are current as of this posting.
- If you have symptoms (fever, cough, new loss of taste or smell) get tested. Call your doctor’s office or local county health department for information on testing sites.
- Isolate yourself for 10 days after onset of symptoms and with a positive test. You can stop isolation after 10 days if you’ve been fever-free for at least 24 hours and your symptoms have improved. If your symptoms are still severe at 10 days, wait until they have started to improve. In some cases, this might take an additional 7-10 days. You may still have a mild cough and runny nose for a couple weeks. This is called “post-viral syndrome”. It is okay to come out of isolation with mild symptoms. If your symptoms are worsening while you are isolating (high fever, worsening cough, chest congestion, shortness or breath) contact your doctor.
- There is no need to re-test once your symptoms have started to improve. You will likely test positive for several weeks depending on how long the virus lingers in your system. This does not mean you are still contagious.
- If you have NO symptoms but have been exposed to someone who is positive for COVID-19 (you’ve been within 6 feet of that person for 15 minutes or more), you should be tested. You should wait 5-7 days from exposure to get tested to limit false-negative results. If you test negative early-on but develop symptoms after 7 days, get re-tested.
- If you’ve been exposed, you should quarantine for 14 days, even if your test is negative, because that is the window of time when symptoms can develop. You don’t want to possibly be asymptomatic and out spreading the virus to all your contacts.
- The CDC does not currently recommend re-testing or quarantining asymptomatic people who’ve had COVID-19 in the last 3 months and are re-exposed. Remnants of the virus from the first infection can cause a positive test.
- Some institutions may require routine (ie – daily, weekly) COVID-19 testing of asymptomatic persons (athletes, colleges, employers, etc.). In the general public, it is not typically suggested that asymptomatic people without a known exposure be tested.
Hope these tips have been helpful! Stay safe!