Wondering when to use a COVID-19 self-test?
• If you have COVID-19 symptoms, like a fever or cough, test right away.
• If you were a close contact of someone with COVID-19, wait at least 5 days to test.
• If you are testing before a gathering, test right before the gathering, or as close to the event as possible.
Learn how to interpret your results: https://bit.ly/2XuuySb.
CDC has updated isolation and quarantine recommendations for the public, and is revising the CDC website to reflect these changes. These recommendations do not apply to healthcare personnel and do not supersede state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations.
Note: If your COVID-19 self-test is positive, tell a healthcare provider about your positive result and stay in contact with them during your illness. It is particularly important to seek medical care and possible treatment if you have an underlying medical condition that increases your risks from COVID-19. To avoid spreading the virus to others, follow CDC’s guidance for isolation. Tell your close contacts that they have been exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19. If your symptoms worsen, tell your healthcare provider, or if you have emergency warning signs, seek emergency care immediately.
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What You Need to Know
- Testing is critically important to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
- COVID-19 self-tests can be taken at home or anywhere, are easy to use, and produce rapid results.
- Self-tests (also referred to as at-home tests or over-the-counter (OTC) tests) are one of many risk-reduction measures, along with vaccination, masking, and physical distancing, that protect you and others by reducing the chances of spreading COVID-19.
- Free self-tests can be ordered at COVIDtests.gov.
- You can use COVID-19 self-tests regardless of vaccination status or whether or not you have symptoms.
- Consider using a COVID-19 self-test before joining indoor gatherings with others who are not in your household. This is especially important before gathering with individuals at risk of severe disease, older individuals, those who are immunocompromised, or unvaccinated people, including children who cannot get vaccinated yet.
- To obtain accurate results, follow all of the manufacturer’s instructions for performing the self-test.
- If you test positive, you should isolate and wear a well-fitting mask if you must be around others, inform your healthcare provider, and inform any close contacts. If you are a healthcare provider, follow CDC guidance for healthcare providers.
- A negative self-test result means that the test did not detect the virus that causes but it does not rule out a COVID-19 infection. A single negative self-test result may not reliable, especially if you have symptoms associated with COVID-19.
- If your result is negative, repeating the self-test within a few days, with at least 24 hours between tests, will increase the confidence that you are not infected with the virus causing COVID-19.