Dr Clodagh Ryan
COVID 19 exposure - what now?
Updated: Dec 23, 2021
Last updated 11.12.20
COVID 19 EXPOSURE
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: WHAT CONSTITUTES A CLOSE CONTACT?
A: A CLOSE CONTACT - someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person 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 test specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.
Q: CLOSE CONTACT WITH A COVID POSITIVE INDIVIDUAL? – WHAT NOW?
A: SELF ISOLATE: Quarantine for 14 days at home and isolated from household contacts. MONITOR FOR COVID SYMPTOMS
(for more information on the symptoms of COVID 19 CLICK HERE)
Q: WHEN SHOULD I GET TESTED?
A: NO SYMPTOMS? Isolate but do NOT get tested until 7 days after exposure. You are likely to have a negative test in the first few days and may have to get tested again. IF YOU DEVELOP COVID SYMPTOMS? - schedule a test and your test is POSITIVE you must continue to isolate for 10 further days after your test.
Q: THERE ARE SO MANY TESTS, WHICH ONE SHOULD I GET DONE?
A: IT DEPENDS ON THE SITUATION:
COVID 19 SYMPTOMS?
Testing is MOST ACCURATE ON DAY 3 OF SYMPTOMS.
RAPID TEST is only reliable for diagnosis if POSITIVE.
RAPID TEST is not reliable for ruling out COVID 19 if negative
Nasal PCR will be required to confirm the negative rapid test
COVID 19 EXPOSURE?
Do not get tested right away - you may get a FALSE NEGATIVE
Wait to get tested until Day 5-7 after exposure
Rapid tests are NOT reliable in this case - get a nasal PCR
The most reliable test for acute Covid illness or close contacts is the Covid PCR, which is a nasal swab, inserted into both nostrils. This test gets sent out to a lab and results are not available until 1-5 days after testing. Most nasal PCR tests that are being sent to the lab are being 100% covered, no no out of pocket costs. If you have no insurance, make sure the lab writes "CARES ACT' on your order to direct the billing towards the federal government.
Q: WHY CAN’T I GET A RAPID COVID TEST EVERY TIME?
A: YOU CAN BUT YOU CAN”T TRUST THE RESULT IF IT'S NEGATIVE. The reliability is poor especially in people with a low level of virus. There are many false positives and false negatives. You will still have to get a nasal PCR to confirm your positive/negative.
Q: IF RAPID TESTS ARE NOT GREAT, WHY DO WE HAVE THEM?
A: Rapid tests are very useful for screening large populations frequently. If you pick up some cases with a high viral load, then those individuals can be isolated and minimize further spread. Nasal PCR is optimal to confirm positive cases. For an interesting article on the use of rapid testing, CLICK HERE.
Q. WHERE CAN I GET A COVID 19 NASAL PCR?
A: LOCAL TESTING FACILITIES – SEE OUR TESTING LOCATIONS HERE