Breaking News – new CDC guidelines do offer options for ending quarantine early. (see below)
Most people understand that they can’t test out of quarantine, right?
After all, if they are around others before their quarantine is over, they could end up exposing others to COVID-19!
Why Can’t You Test Out of Your COVID-19 Quarantine?
But why can’t you just test out of your COVID-19 quarantine?
Basically, if you have a negative COVID-19 test early in your quarantine period, it doesn’t mean that you can’t develop symptoms or test positive later on.
“If you are tested and the test is negative, do you still have to be quarantined?Coronavirus Questions and Answers
Yes. Someone exposed to a person with COVID-19 needs a 14-day quarantine regardless of test results. This is because COVID-19 can develop between two and 14 days after an exposure.”
Testing negative doesn’t get you out of quarantine.
A negative test simply means that you don’t have an active infection. It doesn’t mean that the SARS-CoV-2 virus isn’t still incubating inside you. And no, we can’t test for that.
So why get tested?
“If you do not have symptoms, it is best to get tested between 5-7 days after you’ve been in a high-risk situation. If your test is negative, get tested again around 12 days after the event. It can take 2-14 days for COVID-19 to develop, so even if you test negative once, you could still develop COVID-19 later and spread it unknowingly.”Symptoms and Testing: COVID-19
Getting tested can be helpful because some people can test positive even if they don’t have symptoms, they can still be contagious, and this can help with contact tracing and can help you warn others that you exposed them to COVID-19.
Ideally, since you are in quarantine, you would not have exposed anyone else though…
And if you test positive?
New Options to Test Out of Quarantine Early
And although it is not without risk, the CDC has suggested some alternatives to the traditional 14 quarantine after being exposed to someone with COVID-19.
This includes ending quarantine after day 7 if you have tested negative within 48 hours and you have no symptoms, understanding that you will have to continue to monitor yourself for symptoms each day and that this strategy has a 5-12% risk of failure (you might still develop COVID-19).
Or even ending quarantine after day 10 without testing if you have no symptoms, understanding that you will have to continue to monitor yourself for symptoms each day and that this strategy has a 1-10% risk of failure (you might still develop COVID-19).
“Persons can continue to be quarantined for 14 days without testing per existing recommendations. This option maximally reduces risk of post-quarantine transmission risk and is the strategy with the greatest collective experience at present.”Options to Reduce Quarantine for Contacts of Persons with SARS-CoV-2 Infection Using Symptom Monitoring and Diagnostic Testing
For most people, 14 days of quarantine will likely still be the safest option.
More on Testing out of Quarantine
- 7 Things to Know About COVID-19
- What to Do if You Have Been Exposed to COVID-19
- What to Do if You Have Been Diagnosed with COVID-19
- Returning to Sports After Having COVID-19
- Going Back to School During the COVID-19 Pandemic
- CDC – When to Quarantine
- CDC – Options to Reduce Quarantine for Contacts of Persons with SARS-CoV-2 Infection Using Symptom Monitoring and Diagnostic Testing
- Why You Can’t Test Out of COVID-19 Quarantine
- Coronavirus Questions and Answers
- Who Should Get Tested for COVID-19
- Protect Yourself & Others: COVID-19
- Symptoms and Testing: COVID-19