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What to do if you test positive for COVID after quarantine?  Here’s what the CDC says to do – NBC Chicago

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What to do if you test positive for COVID after quarantine? Here’s what the CDC says to do – NBC Chicago

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If you test positive for COVID-19 after quarantine and you no longer have symptoms, do you still need to stay in isolation?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a person is encouraged, but not required, to take a coronavirus test after being quarantined for five days after diagnosis.

After five full days, a person can end the isolation period if they have been fever-free for 24 hours without fever medication and if other symptoms have improved, the CDC wrote online.

However, the CDC said the best approach would be to find an antigen test near the end of the five-day isolation period. If the sample comes back positive, health officials are advising people to self-isolate until day 10. If the test comes back negative, people can end the isolation period, but continue to wear a mask around others until day 10.

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said some PCR tests can come back positive even if a person doesn’t remain infectious with the virus because it detects “dead COVID in your nose that you don’t spread.” not “.

“It’s something that’s not a change,” Arwady said. “This is something we’ve seen forever. That’s why there’s no recommendation to get a negative PCR test before returning to work…because many studies have shown that PCR tests can stay positive.”

If work requires a negative test to return, Arwady recommended receiving a note from a healthcare provider that a patient has been quarantined for the required period and no longer has a fever or symptoms.

Chicago’s top doctor said last week that the omicron variant has “accelerated” the timeline related to the coronavirus, including when people start seeing symptoms and the recovery period.

“While we’ve seen these new variants develop — delta, now omicron — what we’re seeing is everything accelerating from a COVID perspective,” Arwady said. “It takes less time from when someone is exposed to COVID to potentially develop an infection. It takes less time to develop symptoms, it takes less time for someone to be contagious and it takes, for many people, less time to recover. This is largely due to many more people being vaccinated.”

Here’s what we know so far.

How soon after exposure to COVID could you test positive?

According to the CDC, the incubation period for COVID is between two and 14 days, although the agency’s latest guidelines suggest a five-day quarantine for those who are unboosted but eligible or unvaccinated. Those looking to get tested after exposure should do so five days after exposure or if they begin to experience it, the CDC recommends.

Those who are boosted and vaccinated, or those who are fully vaccinated and not yet eligible for a booster, do not need to quarantine, but must wear masks for 10 days and also get tested for five days after exposure, unless they show symptoms.

When is the best time to get tested after exposure?

The CDC says anyone who may have been exposed to someone with COVID should be tested five days after exposure, or as soon as symptoms appear.

“If symptoms appear, individuals should immediately self-quarantine until a negative test confirms the symptoms are not attributable to COVID-19,” the guide said.

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike said incubation times could change, but those who test early should continue to test even if they test negative.

“Maybe we’re hearing that the incubation time could be a bit shorter. So maybe you would test at two days,” Ezike said. “Obviously if you’re symptomatic you test right away. But you know, if you want to test at two days, but that negative test… the two days shouldn’t make you think, ‘Oh well, I’m clear,’ you know ? You might want to get tested again and, of course, symptoms you can’t ignore – sore throat, headaches, all kinds of symptoms – anything new can be a symptom of this new disease. ”

How Soon Could COVID Symptoms Appear?

According to previous CDC guidelines, symptoms of COVID can appear between two and 14 days after a person has been exposed to the virus.

Anyone with symptoms should get tested for COVID-19.

Some people may never experience symptoms, although they can still spread the virus. A person is also considered contagious before symptoms appear.

When are people with COVID most contagious?

The CDC says its guidelines have been updated to reflect growing evidence that suggests transmission of COVID-19 often occurs one to two days before symptoms appear and for two to three days afterward.

“It has to do with the CDC data which really showed after seven days that there was virtually no risk of transmission at this point,” Arwady said. “And in that five to seven day window, you know, it’s depending on whether people have been vaccinated, the underlying conditions, etc., but the risk goes down a lot and the feeling is that in the general population, combined with masking, etc. the risk is really very low. “

For those who have no symptoms, CDC guidelines say they are considered contagious at least two days before they test positive.

How long should you quarantine or self-isolate?

First, those who believe they have been in contact with someone who has COVID and who is not vaccinated should self-quarantine. People who test positive, regardless of their vaccination status, should self-isolate, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Here is the difference between the two:


According to updated CDC guidelines released Monday.

After this period is over, they must use a strict mask for an additional five days.

Previously, the CDC had said that people who were not fully vaccinated and had close contact with an infected person were required to stay home for at least 10 days.

Before Monday, fully vaccinated people – whom the CDC has defined as having two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine – could be exempt from quarantine.

Those who are both fully vaccinated and boosted do not need to self-quarantine if they are in close contact with someone with COVID, but must wear a mask for at least 10 days after exposure. The same goes for those who are fully vaccinated and are not yet eligible for their booster.

Local health authorities can also make the final decision on the duration of a quarantine, however, and testing may play a role.

The Illinois Department of Health has said it will adopt the CDC’s revised isolation and quarantine guidelines for COVID.

In Chicago, those traveling to or from certain parts of the country and are not vaccinated are required to self-quarantine upon arrival in the city, but the length of time they need to do so depends on whether they are having or not a COVID test.


People positive for COVID should stay home for five days, the CDC said on Monday, changing the guidelines from the previously recommended 10 days.

At the end of the period, if you have no symptoms, you can resume your normal activities but must wear a mask everywhere – even in the house around others – for at least five more days.

If you are still showing symptoms after five days of isolation, stay home until you feel better, then begin your five days of all-day mask wear.

So how do you calculate your period of isolation?

According to the CDC, “Day 0 is your first day of symptoms.” This means that Day 1 is the first full day after your symptoms appear.

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, however, must restart their calculations, with day 0 becoming the first day of symptoms.

When to call a doctor

The CDC is urging those who have or may have COVID-19 to watch for emergency warning signs and seek immediate medical attention if they show any symptoms, including:

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake up or stay awake
  • Pale, gray or blue skin, lips or nail beds, depending on skin tone

“This list does not contain all possible symptoms,” says the CDC. “Please call your doctor for any other symptoms that are serious or of concern to you.”

You can also let the operator know that you think you or someone you care for has COVID.

What if you test positive using a home test?

Those who test positive using a home test are urged to follow the latest CDC guidelines and report the results to their health care provider, who is responsible for reporting test results to the department. state health.

According to the Chicago area health services, people should assume the test results are accurate and should isolate themselves from others to reduce the risk of the virus spreading.

“If you test positive for COVID-19, you need to self-isolate,” Arwady said. “There is no need to repeat a positive home test in a medical setting. We don’t want people going to the emergency room just to get tested. Treat a positive like a positive, stay home and isolate for a while. five days. “

When can you be with other people after having COVID?

If you’ve had symptoms, the CDC says you can be with others after you’ve been isolated for five days and stopped showing symptoms. However, you should continue to wear masks for five days after symptoms end to minimize risk to others.

The CDC also recommends avoiding immunocompromised people and avoiding high-risk environments until at least 10 days.

What to do if you test positive for COVID after quarantine? Here’s what the CDC says to do – NBC Chicago

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