COVID-19 self-tests – when used with other safety measures – can help reduce the risk of contracting or spreading the disease. Along with vaccination, masking, and physical distancing, you can protect yourself and reduce the chance of spreading SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
A positive self-test result means:
• The test detected the virus
• You very likely have an infection
After a positive self-test result you should:
• Stay home or isolate for at least 5 days (10 days if you are still sick)
• Wear a mask if you must be near other people
• Share the news with your healthcare provider
• Tell your close contacts they may have been exposed
• Avoid indoor gatherings to reduce the risk of spreading disease to someone else
• Monitor symptoms closely and seek immediate care if they become severe
• Trouble breathing indicates emergency care may be needed
A negative self-test result means:
• The test did not detect the virus and you may not have an infection
• If you tested while feeling sick, your symptoms could be from another illness (ex: cold, flu)
• A negative result does not completely rule out infection
After a negative self-test result you should:
Repeat the test within a few days or as instructed in test kit
Note: It is possible for a COVID-infected person to get a negative result. This is called a false negative. It is possible the test was taken too early for COVID-19 to be detected. This is why repeat testing is suggested.
Testing frequently can help detect the virus earlier and help reduce the spread of infection. Some kits include instructions for performing repeat tests along with the needed supplies. Follow the instructions and suggested timing carefully.
Please contact your healthcare provider if you have questions about:
• Self-test results