What to do if you test positive for COVID-19

Posted at 6:03 AM, May 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-21 06:04:01-04

The highly contagious omicron subvariant of COVID-19 is now spreading through the United States, becoming the dominant strain of coronavirus nationwide.

Quarantine measures are not the same now as they were in the beginning of the pandemic — here's what to do after testing positive.

"In areas where community levels are high, everyone should be using prevention measures and wearing a mask in public indoor settings," said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control.

If you do test positive, whether at home or after a PCR test, experts say you should isolate immediately.

At home, go to a room away from others. If the result comes at work, put on a high-quality mask — like an N95 — in public places until you get home.

How long should you isolate? At least five days, experts say.

Day one is 24 hours after the positive test or appearance of symptoms.

That means not being in the same room with others, not going into work and wearing a well-fitting mask while in common areas. Open the windows as much as possible.

After the fifth day, the CDC says if you have no fever and symptoms are improving, you can go into public places with a well-fitting mask. But some schools and workplaces may have their own policies.

The CDC says an infected person should still wear a mask around others, even at home, through day 10.

After a positive test, talk to your doctor and see if you're eligible for therapuetics, all of which are meant to be taken before someone gets severely sick.

There are antiviral pills which can be taken at home; there are also two types of injections or infusions for those at higher risk. The sooner you start them, the more effective they'll be.

For those who don't have a regular doctor, you have options, too — including going to a "test to treat" facility where you can get tested, see an urgent care provider and get therapies all at the same place.

To find a test to treat facility near you, click here.