Who should get tested?
As cases have increased, the recommendations regarding who should be tested have changed. People who meet the following criteria should be tested:
- Close contacts with a positive case. These include those who share a household or worksite with a positive person, and those who have attended an event with that person. Close contacts should be tested immediately and again after 7 days.
- Anyone who plans to participate in a gathering/event.
- Anyone who has attended a gather/event.
- Anyone who travelled out of state.
- Anyone who has a visitor from out-of-state.
- College students returning to Vermont.
Why should I get re-tested 7 days after a single possible exposure?
It takes your body some time to create a measurable load of virus. Those who wait 7 days after a single possible exposure are more likely to get an accurate result. Testing too early can lead to a false negative.
What should I do after I get tested?
Follow these instructions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and any directions you receive from the organization administering the test. The bottom line is that you should self-quarantine until your results are known.
What if my test result is positive?
If your exposure is confirmed through contact tracing or with a positive test, follow these instructions. You will hear from a contact tracer. The contact tracer will be interested in how you are doing and whether you are at risk of serious illness. They will gather information to verify your identity and so that they can continue to monitor and support you and your family. Note that contact tracing is free. If someone claims to need payment information, they are not a contact tracer.
Is an anterior nares test as reliable as the nasopharyngeal test?
First of all, let’s define these two complicated medical terms. The nasopharyngeal test is the one most commonly offered up until this point. It is administered by a medical professional. The sample collector puts a long swab up the patient’s nose and gathers the sample from very deep in the throat. If you haven’t experienced this sort of test yet, it makes your eyes water. The anterior nares test gathers the sample from the back of the mouth or inside the nose, not as deep. The benefit of the anterior nares test is that the patient, using simple directions, can collect the sample themselves. This saves valuable protective equipment. When the samples collected with both methods are processed the same way, they are believed to be similarly accurate. Differences in accuracy do exist between antigen and PCR tests, different manufacturers, and whether or not the person has symptoms.
What if I have a COVID-19 question that was not addressed here, or need to get personalized answers?
Call the SVMC COVID-19 Info Hotline at 802-440-8844. The Hotline is staffed by SVMC Registered Nurses Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Vermont Department of Health
New York Department of Health
Massachusetts Department of Public Health