What to do if you have been exposed to covid-19
Last updated 2/2/2021 at 5:48am | View PDF
If you are one of the millions of people that have been exposed to the covid-19 virus, or you suspect you have, you should contact your physician and request a test.
The virus has an incubation of 2 to 14 days, so you will need to personally quarantine for at least 14 days to protect those you live with and work with. It doesn’t matter if you feel sick or not during that timeframe.
Exposure is when a person has symptoms or who have been in close contact within six feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period with someone with a confirmed case of covid-19.
If you are asked by your healthcare provider to get tested, you should do so immediately. People should get tested by their healthcare provider or local or state health department.
Many doctors explain that everyone should be aware that the covid-19 tests are not exactly accurate. Someone could test a “false” positive or even a “false” negative. Scientists continue to study the virus because it’s difficult to predict how it will affect each individual person.
After you have been exposed to the virus, it can take a few days to show symptoms.
The main symptoms include a fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting and diarrhea.
Everyone should be aware that if you get tested immediately after being exposed, your test may come back negative. You need to have a certain viral load (the amount of virus present in your body) for the test to detect.
If you have a false negative, it can be dangerous because you could be spreading the virus without realizing it. You still need to isolate and quarantine for two weeks.
A study from the American College of Cardiology also found that most people develop symptoms about five days after they’re exposed and they’re often the most infectious two days before they develop symptoms and up to a day after their symptoms start.
The Center for Disease Control has not issued any guidelines on testing after the virus exposure. It’s best to do what your doctor requests.
Doctors at Kaiser Permanente in Bakersfield are requesting their covid-19 patients have no temperature for three days in a row, then continue to isolate for 10 days and finally confirm with your doctor that you can return to normal activities.
If you get a positive result on the test but don’t have any symptoms, you need to isolate for two weeks after you were expos