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    FAQ: Positive tests: Isolation, quarantine, and re

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    Up-to-date information for the MIT community about COVID-19: 

    Covid Pass testing | Covid Pass testing results | COVID-19 updates | COVID-19 FAQ

    FAQ: Positive tests: Isolation, quarantine, and re-testing

    What happens after a positive test?

    If I don’t have symptoms, why won’t you do a second test to confirm that the first was not a “false positive?”

    How long will I have to isolate after a positive test?

    I’ve tested positive for COVID-19 infection; how soon do I need to be tested again?

    What is a “close contact?”

    I’ve been in close contact with someone who has tested positive; how long do I need to self-quarantine?

    If I’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19, do I still have to quarantine if I am identified as a close contact to someone who tests positive?

    What happens after a positive test?

    A positive PCR test has implications for both that individual and their close contacts. Here’s what happens in each case.

    I have no symptoms. Isolate for at least 5 full days after first positive test. Then wear a well-fitting mask at all times around others for an additional 5 days.I have symptoms of COVID-19. Isolate for at least 5 full days after symptom onset and until fever free for at least 24 hours. Then wear a well-fitting mask at all times around others for an additional 5 days.I am a close contact, and I am:Fully vaccinated and boosted, if eligible or tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 90 days: No quarantine necessary. Get tested at least 5 days post exposure or if symptoms develop; self-monitor daily for symptoms through Day 10.Unvaccinated or vaccinated but not up to date on COVID-19 vaccination including booster: Quarantine for at least 5 full days from last potential exposure; Get tested 5 days post exposure or if symptoms develop; self-monitor daily for symptoms through Day 10.

    January 11, 2022

    If I don’t have symptoms, why won’t you do a second test to confirm that the first was not a “false positive?”

    Public health authorities consider a positive PCR test to be a true positive, so a subsequent negative test would not change the requirement for isolation. Research has shown that infected individuals may be asymptomatic but still able to spread the virus.

    December 21, 2021

    How long will I have to isolate after a positive test?

    At least 5 days. If you are:

    Asymptomatic: Isolate for 5 days after the first positive test. Then wear a well-fitting mask at all times around others for another 5 days,

    Symptomatic: Isolate for at least 5 days after symptom onset or until you have been fever free for at least 24 hours, whichever is longer. Then wear a well-fitting mask at all times around others for another 5 days,

    January 11, 2022

    I’ve tested positive for COVID-19 infection; how soon do I need to be tested again?

    Once you’ve tested positive for the virus, you do not need to be tested again for 90 days from symptom onset, if you became ill, or from the date of your positive test, if you remained asymptomatic.

    However, if you develop symptoms of COVID-19 during that three-month period, and if clinicians cannot identify another cause for these symptoms, you may need to be re-tested at that time.

    January 21, 2021

    What is a “close contact?”

    The CDC defines a “close contact” as “someone who was within six feet of an infected individual for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.”

    October 21, 2020

    I’ve been in close contact with someone who has tested positive; how long do I need to self-quarantine?

    If you are up to date on your COVID-19 vaccinations, including a booster shot, if eligible, or if you have had a positive test for COVID-19 in the last 90 days, CDC guidelines do not require you to quarantine, but you should be tested at least 5 days following the date of your exposure and monitor yourself for symptoms for 10 days. If you develop symptoms, you should self-isolate and be tested as soon as possible.

    If you are not vaccinated or are not up to date on your COVID-19 vaccinations, including a booster shot, if eligible, you must self-isolate for a full five days and then test. Even if you are negative, you should continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others at all times for another five full days..

    While you are quarantining, you must actively monitor yourself for symptoms and take your temperature at least once every day. You must continue this self-monitoring for a full 10 days from the date of your possible exposure to the virus, even after your 5-day quarantine has ended. If you develop even mild symptoms, you must immediately self-isolate and contact MIT’s contact-tracing team to arrange testing.

    Unless you develop symptoms, you do not need to be tested during the quarantine period. However, if you want to be tested, MIT’s contact tracers will work with you to schedule your test.

    January 11, 2022

    If I’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19, do I still have to quarantine if I am identified as a close contact to someone who tests positive?

    It depends. If you are eligible for a booster but have not yet received one, you are required to quarantine for 5 days. However, if you are up to date on your COVID-19 vaccinations, including a booster shot, if eligible, MIT and CDC guidelines do not require you to quarantine, but you should be tested at least 5 days following the date of your exposure and you should monitor yourself for symptoms for a full 10 days. If you develop symptoms, you should self-isolate and be tested as soon as possible.

    Source : medical.mit.edu

    Retesting After Having COVID

    After having COVID, people can continue to test positive for months. The CDC does not recommend repeat testing after testing positive for COVID.

    INFECTIOUS DISEASES CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)

    When to Retest After Having COVID

    By Christine Zink, MD Published on February 16, 2022

    Medically reviewed by Anju Goel, MD, MPH

    Table of Contents Post-COVID Testing

    Length of Positive Result

    Employer Requirements

    Long COVID

    Tens of millions of people in the United States have been infected with COVID-19, resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths.1 After being infected with COVID-19, there is curiosity about how often people should test themselves, when they should test, and whether they should continue to retest after having the illness.

    This article reviews why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend repeat testing for people who have recovered from COVID-19.

    AzmanL / Getty Images

    Do I Need to Obtain Post-COVID-19 Testing?

    The short answer is no.

    Currently, the CDC guidelines indicate that if a person tests positive for COVID-19—regardless of vaccination status—they need to isolate at home for at least five days and take precautions for at least 10 days.2 This means that after five days, a person who does not have symptoms can end isolation if they can still wear a well-fitted mask around other people for an additional five days.

    People with mild symptoms should isolate for five days from symptom onset and ensure that their symptoms are improving and they are fever-free for 24 hours before ending isolation. If symptoms have improved at day five, then they should continue wearing a well-fitted mask around other people for another five days.2

    Why the CDC Reduced COVID-19 Isolation to 10 Days

    At the end of five days, if a person has access to a COVID-19 test and wants to test, they can. But, a person does not need to test, and the test result does not change whether a person still needs to wear a well-fitted mask for an additional five days.

    The CDC recommends that you only test if you have been fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and your other symptoms have improved.2 If the test result is negative, the person can end isolation after day five and wear a well-fitted mask around others until day 10. If the test result is positive, the person should continue to isolate until day 10.

    After that time, no further testing is recommended, even if a person tested positive on day five.2 Repeat testing after recovery from COVID-19 is not required after 10 days of isolation.

    Sick and Immunocompromised People

    These guidelines do not apply to moderately or severely ill people with COVID-19 or people with weakened immune systems. Immunocompromised people should always isolate for at least 10 days, and up to 20 days for people who were severely sick with COVID-19.2

    If a person does not have access to repeat COVID-19 testing after five days in isolation, or does not want to retest, the CDC recommends that people take precautions until day 10 by continuing to wear a well-fitted mask around others at home and in public.2

    At-Home Testing

    People with mild to moderate symptoms often obtain COVID-19 testing on their own and care for themselves at home. With the rise in cases, testing options are becoming harder to find. There are several at-home testing kits available, but they're scarce. The government has launched a program to help ease the testing hurdle by providing free at-home rapid COVID-19 testing kits, but only four per household are allowed.3

    How Long After Having COVID-19 Will Someone Still Test Positive?

    People might obtain repeat COVID-19 testing because they are under the impression that another positive COVID-19 test result—even if symptoms are improving—means that they are still contagious. These people may feel a duty to limit the spread of the disease further.

    However, many people can continue to test positive for the virus even though they are not symptomatic or contagious, sometimes for weeks or even months.4

    For PCR tests, evidence shows that in most people, viral particles can be detected as early as six days before symptom onset and up until two weeks later.5

    However, although viral RNA can continue to be detected, scientists have not been able to grow live virus from collected specimens nine days after symptom onset. This suggests that even though a person can continue to test positive, they are no longer contagious eight days after symptom onset.5

    How Long Will You Test Positive for COVID-19?

    How Can Someone Test Positive for COVID-19 and Not Be Infectious?

    The best COVID-19 tests are the nucleic acid reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests. These tests work by creating copies of viral genetic material in respiratory samples. The tests can take a single copy of viral RNA and amplify it to show a positive result.4

    Essentially, these tests are very good at detecting small amounts of viral material. However, these viral fragments do not indicate a live virus. Their existence does not mean that the viral fragments can lead to symptoms or be passed to others. These viral fragments can be detected for up to three months.4

    Source : www.verywellhealth.com

    Should You Retest After Testing Positive for COVID

    According to CDC guidance, you can retest yourself after previously testing positive for COVID following a five-day isolation period, but it's not necessary. Here's what infectious disease experts think of that guidance.

    HEALTH CONDITIONS A-Z

    INFECTIOUS DISEASES CORONAVIRUS

    Should You Retest After Testing Positive for COVID-19—And If So, When?

    Should You Retest After Testing Positive for COVID-19—And If So, When? The CDC says you can retest yourself after your five-day isolation period, but it's not necessary. Here's what infectious disease experts think of that guidance.

    By Health.com Editorial Team Published on January 24, 2022

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    A positive COVID-19 test can be jarring, but what to do after receiving one is clear: Isolate—specifically for five days, whether you're showing symptoms or not. The guidance for when you can (or whether you should) test yourself again after receiving a positive result, however, is a bit less straightforward.

    Some people, either in hopes of cutting quarantine corners or out of curiosity for their condition, have taken to tracking their COVID status by testing daily with at-home antigen tests. But doctors warn against testing yourself for the virus every day—not necessarily because it's harmful, but because it's likely unhelpful.

    Here, we dig into what the official guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says regarding when to retest after a positive COVID result, and what experts in the field most commonly suggest.

    @[email protected]#=img=# GETTY IMAGES

    What the CDC says about retesting after a positive COVID test

    The CDC recommends staying home or away from others for five full days if you test positive for COVID (with or without symptoms), or if you have symptoms, regardless of vaccination status. If you absolutely have to be around other people (say, if you share a home with others who are COVID-negative), you should wear a well-fitted mask.

    After those five days, the CDC says you can end isolation if you didn't develop symptoms, or if you developed symptoms but have been fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medicines) and your symptoms are improving. However, you still have to wear a mask for five more days, the CDC says.

    For both of these scenarios, the CDC says retesting yourself is an option, not a requirement: "If an individual has access to a test and wants to test, the best approach is to use an antigen test towards the end of the five-day isolation period," the CDC guidelines read. "Collect the test sample only if you are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and your other symptoms have improved." If you end up testing positive again, the CDC recommends you continue isolating until day 10.

    This guidance differs a bit if you had severe illness from COVID-19, or if you have a weakened immune system: In that case, the CDC says you may require additional viral testing—molecular or antigen tests—to determine if and when it's safe to be around others. In that case, the best course of action is to talk with your doctor to determine a testing plan.

    How Soon After Having a COVID Breakthrough Infection Should You Get a Booster Shot?

    What experts say about retesting after a positive COVID test

    If you found yourself feeling confused over the CDC guidelines for quarantine and isolation, you're not alone; the president of the American Medical Association (AMA), Gerald E. Harmon, MD, shared a statement on the matter on January 5. "A negative test should be required for ending isolation after one tests positive for COVID-19," Dr. Harmon wrote. "Reemerging without knowing one's status unnecessarily risks further transmission of the virus."

    According to the AMA, an estimated 31% of people remain infectious after five days following a positive COVID test—and Dr. Heaton says this could result in "potentially hundreds of thousands of people" returning to work or school while they're still contagious.

    That said, even an additional test after five days of isolation, may only be so helpful. "A negative antigen test at five days [after testing positive] tells you that the amount of virus present in your nose, saliva, or wherever you sampled from is low enough not to cause a positive test," Clare Rock MD, infectious disease physician, epidemiologist, and associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, tells Health. That's because antigen tests, more so than PCR tests, are prone to false negatives. "It does not necessarily mean you are not still infectious to others, which is why it's very important to wear a mask," says Dr. Rock.

    To make things even more confusing: Let's say you still get a positive COVID-19 test result, even after 10 days of isolation—that may not tell you everything you need to know, either. "Some people persist in getting a positive result many days after infection, when in theory they are considered noninfectious," Cheryl G. Healton, DrPH, dean of the School of Global Public Health at New York University, tells Health. Both antigen and PCR tests can detect dead virus fragments that may remain in the upper airway, even after you're no longer infectious, she says.

    Omicron vs. Delta: How the 2 COVID-19 Variants Compare, According to Experts and Research

    What should you do with this information?

    Though the CDC guidelines are admittedly hard to interpret, they're the best course of action: If you've tested positive for COVID-19 (or if you have symptoms), isolate for at least five days or until you're fever free for 24 hours and your symptoms are improving, then continue to exercise caution by wearing a mask around others until 10 days have passed since your first positive test or symptom.

    Source : www.health.com

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