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How long does it take after exposure to test positive for COVID
It can take almost a week after exposure to COVID-19 to have a positive test result.
If you aren’t fully vaccinated, quarantine right away after you’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19. If you develop symptoms, get tested right away. Otherwise, wait five to seven days.
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“If you aren’t vaccinated, it’s important to quarantine to limit the spread of the virus if you were within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more,” said Steven Patton, D.O., family medicine physician at Norton Community Medical Associates – Preston. “The length of time spent with the person is irrelevant if you hugged or kissed, shared utensils or a drink, or were on the receiving end of a sneeze or cough.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that you may be able to stop quarantine after 10 days if you didn’t get tested and don’t have symptoms. If you got tested on the fifth day after exposure or later and the result was negative, you can stop isolation after seven days.
While in quarantine, watch for a fever, shortness of breath or other COVID-19 symptoms. Those who are experiencing severe or life-threatening symptoms should seek emergency care immediately.
Quarantine after possible exposure to COVID-19 and stay home to monitor your health. Isolate when you have been infected with the virus and stay separated from others in your household.
Ongoing COVID-19 Exposure FAQ
How do people living together manage quarantine when they cannot be separated from the person with COVID-19?
It is very important for people with COVID-19 to remain apart from other people if possible, even if they are living together. If separation of the person with COVID-19 from others in the home is not possible, the other members of the household will have ongoing exposure, meaning they will be repeatedly exposed until that person is no longer able to spread the virus to other people.
People with COVID-19 can spread the virus to other people for 10 days after they develop symptoms, or 10 days from the date of their positive test if they do not have symptoms. The person with COVID-19 and all members of the household should wear a well-fitted mask and consistently, inside the home. If possible, one member of the household should care for the person with COVID-19 to limit the number of people in the household that are in close contact with the infected person. Take steps to protect yourself and others to reduce transmission in the home. Quarantine is a strategy to prevent transmission of COVID-19. It ensures that unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated people who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 stay apart from others. You quarantine when you have been exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 and are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated. Isolation is a strategy to prevent transmission of COVID-19 by separating people with COVID-19 from those who are not infected. You isolate when you have symptoms of COVID-19 or are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, even if you don’t have symptoms.
Public health recommendations for testing and quarantine of close contacts with ongoing exposure depend on vaccination status.
What are the public health recommendations for close contacts who have ongoing exposure to COVID-19?
Close contacts with ongoing exposure who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated
People who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated and have ongoing exposure to COVID-19 should
Close contacts with ongoing exposure who are fully vaccinated
People who are fully vaccinated and have ongoing exposure to COVID-19 should
What should I do if multiple people I live with test positive for COVID-19 at different times?
Recommendations for this situation depend on vaccination status:
I had COVID-19 and completed isolation. Do I have to quarantine or get tested if someone I live with gets COVID-19 shortly after I completed isolation?
No. If you recently completed isolation and someone in your household tests positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 shortly after the end of your isolation period, you do not have to quarantine or get tested as long as you do not develop new symptoms. Once all members of the household have completed isolation or quarantine, refer to the guidance below for new exposures to COVID-19.
What Should You Do If You Test Positive for COVID or Were Exposed to Someone Who Has? – NBC Chicago
What should you do if you or someone you have been in close contact with tests positive for coronavirus? It's a question many are asking as COVID cases surge in...
What should you do if you or someone you have been in close contact with tests positive for coronavirus? How long are you contagious, what are the quarantine guidelines and when can you see people again?
What should you do if you or someone you have been in close contact with tests positive for coronavirus?
It's a question many are asking as COVID cases surge in Illinois and across the U.S. leading up to the holidays and some questions how long they should quarantine, if at all and how long they might be contagious.
Here's a look at the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on what to do if you test positive or believe you were exposed to someone who has.
How Soon Might Symptoms Appear?
According to the CDC, COVID symptoms can appear anywhere from two to 14 days after someone is exposed to the virus.
Anyone with symptoms should get tested for COVID.
When Should You Get a COVID Test?
Those who have been fully vaccinated and around someone who has COVID-19 are recommended to get tested between five and seven days after their exposure, according to the most recent guidance from the CDC, though previous guidance had been between three and five days.
Those who develop symptoms should get tested as symptoms develop, but if a test is negative and symptoms persist another test might be needed a few days later, particularly for those who use at-home test kits.
"So if someone is having symptoms and they get a negative test, one, it depends on the severity right? If you're having severe symptoms we don't want you to just do a home test either," said Dr. Nimmi Rajagopal, the associate chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine for Cook County Health. "We want you to call your doctor's office and make sure that they have an opinion here because there are of course other things like the flu that are out there that can mimic symptoms or have similar symptoms. But if you're having symptoms and they're kind of mild and lingering and you use the [at-home] test and it's negative, we want you to take the precautions and then retest in three to five days. And that's why most of these kits actually come with two tests."
When is Someone With COVID Contagious?
A person with COVID-19 is considered infectious starting two days before they develop symptoms, or two days before the date of their positive test if they do not have symptoms.
How Long Should you Quarantine or Isolate?
First things first, those who believe they have been in contact with someone who has COVID and are unvaccinated should quarantine. Those who test positive, regardless of vaccination status, must isolate, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Here's the breakdown:
Those who have been within 6 feet of someone with COVID for a cumulative total of at least 15 minutes over a 24-hour period should stay home for 14 days after their last contact with that person and watch for symptoms. If possible, those quarantining should also stay away from the people they live with, particularly those who are at an increased risk of developing more severe COVID illness.
If symptoms appear within the quarantine window, isolate immediately and contact a healthcare provider, the CDC's guidance states.
Those who are fully vaccinated do not need to quarantine, according to the CDC, but they should get tested anywhere from five to seven days following their exposure regardless of symptoms.
Local health authorities can also make the final determination about how long a quarantine should last, however. And testing can play a role.
For example, in Chicago, those who travel to or from certain parts of the country and are unvaccinated must quarantine upon arrival to Chicago, but the length of time they should do so for depends on whether they get tested for COVID.
The city's travel advisory recommends those who travel from the designated warning states must:
Illinois' health department states that:
"Due to the risk of severe illness and congregate transmission, IDPH recommends the full 14-day quarantine period rather than the shortened options described above in congregate living settings with vulnerable populations, such as skilled care and correctional facilities," the Illinois Department of Public Health states on its website.
For schools, the guidance is different. In these settings, IDPH guidance states that:
According to the CDC, people who are positive for COVID should stay home until it's safe for them to be around others, including even other members of their home.
Health officials recommend a "sick room" or area for those who are infected and a separate bathroom, if possible.
So how do you calculate your 10-day isolation period?
According to the CDC, "day 0 is your first day of symptoms." That means that Day 1 is the first full day after your symptoms developed.
For those who test positive for COVID but have no symptoms, day 0 is the day of the positive test. Those who develop symptoms after testing positive must start their calculations over, however, with day 0 then becoming the first day of symptoms.
When Should You Call a Doctor?
The CDC urges those who have or may have COVID-19 to watch for emergency warning signs and seek medical care immediately if they experience symptoms including:
"This list is not all possible symptoms," the CDC states. "Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you."
You can also notify the operator that you believe you or someone you are caring for has COVID.
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What If You Test Positive Using an At-Home Test?
Those who test positive using an at-home test are asked to follow the latest CDC guidelines and communicate the results to their healthcare provider, who is responsible for reporting test results to the state health department.
Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady has said that that process is not likely happening for every test, however.
"All of those negatives realistically are not being reported," Arwady said. "We're not counting, you know, it's a fiction that we've ever counted every COVID test."
She added that though many home tests are not being reported, positive results likely are provided to health care providers, then to the health departments.
When Can You Be Around Other People After Having COVID?
If you had symptoms, the CDC says you can be around others if you meet the following criteria:
The CDC says these recommendations don't apply to those who have severe COVID or weakened immune systems, however.
If you tested positive but had no symptoms for the duration of your isolation, the CDC says:
For those with severe illnesses or weakened immune systems, the CDC says staying home up to 20 days after symptoms first appeared is advised, but people in this group should talk to their healthcare provider before making decisions.
"People with weakened immune systems may require testing to determine when they can be around others," the CDC's website states. "Talk to your healthcare provider for more information."