Steps to Take After COVID-19 Testing

If you had a PCR test in our office, you will receive your results by email within 48 hours (usually 24 to 36 hours). If you do not get an email, call 919-460-0993 during office hours. (After-hours service does not have access to your result). 

What do I do while I wait for my test results?

If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, you should STAY HOME, wear a mask around others, and, as much as possible, avoid others in your household. In addition, everyone in your household should stay at home as much as possible until your results are known, but they don’t need to quarantine as long as they wear a mask in indoor public spaces and are free of symptoms. If possible, be in a room by yourself with the door closed and use your own bathroom. Do your best to stay away from household members until you get your test result, and always wear a mask if you are near people. Act as if your test is positive (see below) until you know the result.


If you were tested for COVID-19 but have no symptoms and no known or suspected exposure to someone with COVID-19 (for example, as part of a workplace or school screening program), you do not need to stay home while waiting for your results unless you are told to do so by your employer or by a public health official.


What if my test is negative?

If your home test was negative, the CDC now recommends repeat testing with another home test or a PCR.

If you were tested because you have symptoms, you should stay home until you are fever-free without using fever-reducing medicines and feel better for at least 24 hours. You don’t want to spread a contagious infection to others whether it is flu, COVID-19, or another illness.


If you were tested because of a known contact with someone with COVID-19, you no longer need to isolate if you are free of symptoms, (no fatigue, sore throat, runny nose, cough, or fever) but you do need to wear a mask around other people in indoor settings for 10 days. At least 5 days after the last time you were in contact with the person who tested positive, do a COVID test. If you develop symptoms, test sooner. If no symptoms develop, you can be around others as long as you are wearing a mask through day 10. It is important that you monitor your symptoms closely. If you develop any symptoms, then you might have COVID-19. Check with your medical provider or get tested again.


If you were tested because you have symptoms and a healthcare provider still thinks you have COVID-19, even with a negative test, you should stay home until a repeat test confirms you are negative and follow the guidelines below as if your test was positive. All negative home tests should be repeated or confirmed with a PCR.


A test-based strategy is no longer recommended to discontinue isolation or precautions and employers should not require documentation of a negative test before allowing a worker to return.


What if my test is positive?

Following CDC guidelines, if your test comes back positive and you have symptoms, you should stay home and, as much as possible, avoid others in your household until you can say yes to ALL three of the following questions:

  • Has it been at least 5 days since you first had symptoms?
  • Has it been at least 24 hours (1 day) since you have had a fever without using fever-reducing medicine?
  • Have your other symptoms improved (such as coughing and shortness of breath)?

If you said yes to the above questions, you can go in public wearing a mask until day 10. For young children with COVID who are unable to wear a mask effectively, isolate the full 10 days.


Following new CDC guidelines, if your test comes back positive and you did not have symptoms, you should stay home until 5 days have passed since the date of your first positive COVID-19 diagnostic test, AND then wear a mask around others for at least 5 MORE days. (Isolate for 10 days if you are unable to wear a mask.)


How can I practice home care?

  • Stay home except to seek medical care. Do not go to work, school, or public areas.
  • Do not use public transportation, rideshares, or taxis.
  • Separate yourself from others in your home, especially people who are at higher risk of serious illness.
  • Stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home as much as possible. Use a separate bathroom, if available.
  • Do not prepare or serve food to others.
  • Do not allow visitors into your home.
    • Rest and drink plenty of fluids. You may take acetaminophen (Tylenol®) to reduce fever and pain. Do not give children younger than age 2 years any medications without first checking with a doctor.
  • Seek medical care if your symptoms get worse, especially if you are at a higher risk of serious illness.
    • Symptoms that indicate you should seek medical care include difficulty breathing, not being able to keep fluids down, dehydration, confusion, and other serious symptoms.
    • If possible, call ahead before going to your doctor’s office or hospital to tell them you are isolating for COVID-19. This will help the health care personnel prepare for your arrival and protect others from getting infected.
    • Do not wait in any waiting rooms.
    • Do wear a mask at all times if possible unless you are alone in your own room.
    • If you call 911, first notify the dispatch and paramedics that you are under isolation for COVID-19.
  • Do not participate in exercise, sports, or PE class until cleared by your doctor to return to exercise. Call the triage nurse in our office after the 10th day of illness to answer clearance questions. If your case was mild, and your symptoms have resolved, you may be eligible for telemedicine clearance. Those who had a moderate or severe case or with ongoing symptoms will need to schedule an in-office visit for clearance.

If you are eligible for a COVID vaccine you can get one as soon as you have completely recovered. If you have completed your primary series but still need a bivalent booster, you can either get your vaccine as soon as you recover or consider waiting 3 months for the booster as long as COVID circulation in your area is low. Feel free to discuss this with your doctor.

Please call us with any questions at 919-460-0993 or visit our website