If you have symptoms of COVID-19, or have been in close contact with someone who tested positive, it’s important to get tested. You may also need a test after high-risk activities such as travel or attending a large gathering, or if a healthcare provider, local, or state health department refers you to get tested.
The incubation period (the time between exposure to the virus and symptom onset) is generally 5-6 days, but can take up to 14 days. For this reason, you should self-quarantine and wait at least five days before getting tested. The virus may not be detectable in your system in early stages. If you have COVID-19 but get tested too soon, your result could come back negative, even though you have been infected.
You should self-quarantine at home pending test results, and follow the advice of your healthcare provider. Minor cases of COVID-19 can be treated at home. Get rest, stay hydrated, and take over-the-counter medicines, such as acetaminophen, to help you feel better. Be sure to monitor your symptoms carefully. If your symptoms get worse, call your healthcare provider immediately. Patients with severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) require hospitalization and supportive care.