Covid Testing Frequently Asked Questions
Dr. Siri Akal
COVID-19 Frequently asked questions:
1. I got sick 7 days ago and had a positive PCR test 5 days ago, I feel better now, but my employer is requiring a negative PCR test before I return to work, what should I do? You need to continue to self isolate for 10 days after your first symptoms started. If you feel better and are not running a fever you still have 3 more days at home before you can return to work. You do not need a repeat PCR test to return to work. Some people will have detectable genetic material for weeks or months. This is usually just fragments of the virus and they are not considered infectious.
2. I had lunch with my friend 3 days ago. The next day they called to let me know they had a fever and were going to get tested. Yesterday they called to report their test was positive. I feel fine, do I need a test to go back to work? If you had close contact with a confirmed positive person you are required to quarantine for 14 days after exposure. Close contact is defined as within 6 feet of someone for at least 15 minutes with or without masks on. If you get tested and your test is negative, you still need to quarantine for 14 days after exposure. A negative test does not mean you can break quarantine.
3. I just found out that a co-worker who worked the shift before me tested positive, what should I do? If you did not have close contact with this person who are not required to quarantine.
4. I was never sick, but my antibody test just came back positive. Do I still need to wear a mask if I am now immune? Yes, you need to continue to practice good infection control. We don’t yet know if a positive antibody tests means you are immune or how long that immunity might last for.
5. I had a positive PCR test in June, but my antibody test just came back negative, why? Not everybody will produce antibodies and there is evidence that levels of antibodies decline over time. The immune system is very complex and we don’t have commercially available tests to test for other types of immune response. We hope that a past infection will offer you some protection against a future covid-19 infection, but we just don’t know enough yet. Continue to wear a mask and physically distance.