Waiting For COVID-19 Test Results

What to do while waiting for COVID-19 test results
 

For individuals who are asymptomatic and have no known or suspected exposure to SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19):

- Continue to follow general public health recommendations to reduce the risk for spread of COVID- 19 such as:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet when around others.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a face covering when around others.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces in your home daily.
  • Monitor your health daily and contact your primary care physician if you start to feel ill.
  • Quarantine is not recommended at this time.

For individuals who are asymptomatic and have a known or suspected exposure to SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19):

- Stay home and away from others (quarantine) for seven to 14 days, starting from the last day you were exposed to a person with COVID-19.

  • Follow the maximum recommendation of 14 days if you will be in a setting where disease could spread extensively or near someone at high risk of severe complications if they develop COVID-19.
  • Quarantine can end after seven days if your test is taken at least five days after exposure and returns negative, provided you remain without symptoms.
  • Quarantine can end after 10 days without a negative test provided you have remained symptom free and continue to symptom monitor until day 14

- Watch for symptoms of COVID-19.

- Check your temperature two times daily and if you begin to show signs or symptom consistent with COVID-19 while awaiting results, notify your doctor or other healthcare provider and follow care instructions.
 

For individuals with signs or symptoms consistent with COVID-19:

- Stay home and away from others.

- Follow instructions from your healthcare provider and local health department and notify your healthcare provider of any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

- Monitor symptoms and seek emergency medical care immediately if you show the following signs:

  • Trouble breathing.
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest.
  • New confusion.
  • Inability to wake or stay awake.
  • Bluish lips or face.


- Seek further evaluation from a healthcare provider via telemedicine or in-person if your symptoms get worse. Call ahead before visiting your doctor and tell them you have been tested for COVID-19.
 

If you live with others while waiting on test results:

- Your household contacts should begin quarantining from the individual waiting on test results.
 

How long will it take to receive test results?

- Time frames for testing results may vary. Results typically are received within 48 hours. Many times, your doctor will receive the test results and communicate them back to you. If your result is positive (meaning you have COVID-19), it will be reported to the state and local health departments.
 

Getting your test results

- It can take several days for test results to come back. The clinic that did your testing or an agency working with your local health department (LHD) will get the results to you.
 

For individuals who test positive

- If you have symptoms:

  • Isolate until all three of these things are true: 1) it has been 10 days since you first felt sick, 2) you have had no fever for at least 24 hours without using medicine that lowers fever, and 3) your symptoms are better.
  • If you had severe illness from COVID-19 (you were admitted to a hospital and needed oxygen) or you have a weakened immune system due to a health condition or medication, you might need to stay home and isolate longer than 10 days. Talk to your healthcare provider for more information.
  • Drink plenty of fluids and eat when you can. You may take medicine for pain or fever if you need to. Rest as much as you can.

- If you do not have symptoms:

  • Stay home for 10 days after the date you were tested.
  • If you develop symptoms during those 10 days, stay home until all three of these things are true:1) it has been 10 days since you first felt sick, 2) you have had no fever for at least 24 hours without using medicine that lowers fever, and 3) your symptoms are better.
  • If you have a weakened immune system due to a health condition or medication, you might need to stay home and isolate longer than 10 days. Talk to your healthcare provider for more information.

For individuals who test negative

- Remember to wash your hands often, avoid touching your face, stay 6 feet from people you do not live with, and wear a cloth facemask when you go out in public.

- If you are a close contact of a confirmed or suspected case, continue to stay home and away from others for seven to 14 days after your last exposure.

  • Follow the maximum recommendation of 14 days if you will be in a setting where disease could spread extensively or near someone at high risk of severe complications if they develop COVID-19.
  • Quarantine can end after seven days if you have no symptoms and your test is taken at least five days after exposure and returns negative.
  • Quarantine can end after 10 days without a negative test provided you have remained symptom free and continue to symptom monitor until day 14.

- A negative COVID-19 test at one point in time does not mean you will stay negative. You could become ill with COVID-19 and/or test positive at any time.

- If you currently have symptoms of COVID-19, you should keep monitoring symptoms and talk to your doctor or other healthcare provider about staying home and if you need to get tested again.

- If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, stay at home and away from others and talk to your doctor or other healthcare provider about getting tested again.

- In all cases, follow the guidance of your healthcare provider and local health department.

Date: 
Monday, August 30, 2021