COVID-19 FAQ

Updated with CDC isolation and quarantine guidelines from 01/09/2022.

You are considered a primary high-risk exposure to COVID-19 if you meet both of the following criteria:

– being with the positive individual within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes cumulatively within a 24 hour period

AND

– the above exposure occurring during their illness OR within the 48 hours prior to their symptoms presenting OR within the 48 hours prior to their positive COVID-19 test (if they were asymptomatic to testing).

Quarantine is the term used if you have a primary high-risk exposure to COVID-19.  It is the period of waiting to see if an individual will acquire the virus or not after an exposure. If you develop symptoms during this time or get a positive test result, your quarantine should transition to an isolation (see below). True high-risk exposure is being with the positive individual within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes cumulatively within a 24 hour period, AND also occurring during their illness OR within 48 hours of their symptoms presenting OR within 48 hours of their positive COVID-19 test if they were asymptomatic. It is recommended that you take a COVID-19 test on the 5th day after your last exposure (PCR preferred).

If you are fully vaccinated (see “What does fully vaccinated mean?” section), you can continue to go out in public wearing a mask for 10 days from your last contact with a person who has COVID-19 as long as you are asymptomatic, continuing to monitor for symptoms during this time.

If you are not fully vaccinated, you should quarantine at home for 5 days from your last contact with a person who has COVID-19 and mask in public an additional 5 days as long as you are asymptomatic, continuing to monitor for symptoms during this time.

In either case, watch for fever (100.4◦F), cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19. If possible, stay away from people you live with, especially people who are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19.

“If possible, stay away from people you live with, especially people who are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19, as well as others outside your home throughout the full 10 days after your last close contact with someone with COVID-19.” -CDC

Isolation is the term used when you are presumed positive or have tested positive for COVID-19 (even with no symptoms). Isolation times last 5 days from the start of your symptoms or from the positive test date if you are asymptomatic. You must wear a mask for an additional 5 days after your 5 day isolation. If you are unable to wear a mask, a full 10-day isolation is recommended. Isolation can end with improving symptoms and the absence of fever for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicines.

“As much as possible, stay in a specific room and away from other people and pets in your home. If possible, you should use a separate bathroom. If you need to be around other people or animals in or outside of the home, wear a mask. Tell your close contacts that they may have been exposed to COVID-19. An infected person can spread COVID-19 starting 48 hours (or 2 days) before the person has any symptoms or tests positive. By letting your close contacts know they may have been exposed to COVID-19, you are helping to protect everyone.” -CDC

Click here for the updated CDC “Quarantine and Isolation” guidelines (01/09/2022).

You are considered “fully vaccinated” once you are more than 14 days out from your latest COVID-19 vaccine dose AND also meet one of the following criteria:

– You are boosted (this criteria is only for those who are eligible for a booster).

OR

– You are less than 5 months out from receiving your 2nd Pfizer dose.

OR

– You are less than 6 months out from receiving your 2nd Moderna dose.

OR

– You are less than 2 months out from receiving your 1st Johnson & Johnson dose.

.

You are NOT considered “fully vaccinated” if you meet ANY of the following criteria:

– You have not received any vaccinations.

OR

– You have received only one mRNA dose (Pfizer/Moderna).

OR

– You are more than 5 months out from receiving your 2nd Pfizer dose and you have not been boosted.

OR

– You are more than 6 months out from receiving your 2nd Moderna dose and you have not been boosted.

OR

– You are more than 2 months out from receiving your 1st Johnson & Johnson dose and you have not been boosted.

OR

– 14 days have not passed since your latest COVID-19 vaccine dose.

PCR (polymerase chain reaction) Test

  • Looks for genetic material that comes only from the virus.
  • Generally a nasal swab (best results), but can also be a throat swab or saliva test.
  • Results can take several hours to several days depending on lab capacity.
  • A PCR test is recommended for the best accuracy.
  • For a PCR test, POSITIVE results are reliable and NEGATIVE results are generally reliable.
  • The later the test is taken after an exposure, the more accurate the results.

Rapid Antigen Test

  • Identifies protein fragments (antigens) from the virus.
  • Nasal or throat swab.
  • Can be taken for quicker results (usually within minutes).
  • Less accurate with more false negatives. Ideally, negative results should be verified with a PCR test.
  • For a rapid antigen test, POSITIVE results are reliable but NEGATIVE results are NOT reliable.
  • For negative results, a repeat rapid antigen test 36 hours apart from the first increases accuracy.

Both tests detect current infections. In general, we recommend backing up a negative Rapid Antigen result with a PCR.

Antibody Test

  • Identifies antibodies that the body’s immune system has produced in response to the infection.
  • A blood draw is required for this test.
  • Usually takes a few days for results.
  • Should wait at least 1-2 weeks for better accuracy (high rate of false negatives if taken too early).
  • A positive test result at any time is reliable.

What an antibody test CAN tell you:

  • Past infection.

What an antibody test CANNOT tell you:

  • Current infection.
  • When infection occurred.
  • Which variant(s) you were infected with.
  • How many times you were infected.
  • Current level of immunity to infection (the presence of antibodies does not necessarily insure adequate protection against COVID-19 as there is wide variability).

There is low value in an antibody test other than if you are curious whether or not there may have been a COVID-19 infection in the past. Blue Fish does not recommend getting an Antibody Test.

The best time to test with a PCR (recommended) or Rapid Antigen test is 5 days or later after your last exposure to COVID-19. Later tests typically yield more accurate results. Testing too soon may result in a false negative.

You can also test as soon as you know you were exposed or as soon as you develop symptoms, but you may need to test again at the above recommended time if the test comes back negative.

An Antibody test should be taken 1-2 weeks after a presumed or verified infection. The immune system needs 1-2 weeks after an infection to produce antibodies. Testing sooner may result in a false negative.

If you test multiple times and you get both a positive and negative result, you should accept the positive result. False negatives are much more common and likely than a false positive. You should isolate 10 days based on the positive test. If you would like to discuss the possibility of a false positive, please speak with your doctor.

If you would like to take a COVID-19 isolation/quarantine Self-Assessment, click on  the link below. This COVID-19 Self-Assessment does not replace professional medical advice, but can guide you on quarantining and isolation guidelines. Parents should help answer for children. Each member of the family can take this Self-Assessment to determine their specific quarantine/isolation guidelines. You may retake this self-evaluation at anytime during your quarantine if circumstances change.

If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please dial 911 or go to a pediatric emergency room.

By clicking the link below, you are acknowledging that this tool is used for guidance only and does not replace professional medical advice.

START ASSESSMENT