When Can I Be with Others If I Tested Positive for COVID-19 But Had No Symptoms?

Reviewed on 2/1/2021

How Long Is COVID-19 Quarantine?

Health authorities say if you are positive for COVID-19, you should isolate yourself in quarantine for 10 days, even if you have no symptoms. Prevention measures like masks and handwashing can help keep you from spreading the disease if you live with non-infected people or must go in public for some reason.
Health authorities say if you are positive for COVID-19, you should isolate yourself in quarantine for 10 days, even if you have no symptoms. Prevention measures like masks and handwashing can help keep you from spreading the disease if you live with non-infected people or must go in public for some reason.

If a person tests positive for COVID-19 and has no symptoms, the CDC states: 

  • You can be around other people once 10 days have passed after a positive viral test for COVID-19 with no symptoms
  • Most people will not require additional testing unless their healthcare provider recommends it

What Is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a novel (new) coronavirus, not previously identified in humans, responsible for an outbreak of respiratory illness that became a global pandemic in 2020. COVID-19 is different from other coronaviruses that cause mild illness, such as the common cold.

What Are Symptoms of COVID-19?

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 appear about 2 to 14 days after exposure and include:

Emergency warning signs that require immediate medical attention (call 9-1-1 or go to a hospital’s emergency department): 

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Bluish lips or face
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion 
  • Inability to wake or stay awake

Less common symptoms of COVID-19 may include: 

What Causes COVID-19?

COVID-19 is transmitted from person-to-person through respiratory droplets from propelled into the air when an infected person sneezes or coughs. Less commonly, COVID-19 may be transmitted when a person touches a surface or object that has the virus on it, and then touches their mouth, nose, or eyes.

How Is COVID-19 Diagnosed?

COVID-19 is diagnosed with a physical examination to check if patients have any of the hallmark symptoms of COVID-19, and a patient history which includes asking if the patient had any known recent exposure to the virus. 

The only way to know for sure if you have COVID-19 is to get tested. If COVID-19 is suspected, a viral test in which a long swab is used to take a sample from the nose or throat is used, which is then sent to a lab for testing to diagnose the illness. Some tests are rapid and results are available within a few hours. Other tests may take several days to receive results.

Another test that can determine if a person had a past COVID-19 infection is an antibody test. This test is not helpful in diagnosing current infections because it takes up to 3 weeks following infection for the body to produce antibodies to the virus. When a person has antibodies to COVID-19 they may have some protection against re-infection, however, researchers do not yet know how much protection antibodies provide or for how long any protections might last.

What Is the Treatment for COVID-19?

There is no specific treatment for COVID-19, and supportive care is aimed at relieving symptoms in mild cases. 

Patients with mild illness are usually advised to remain home and self-isolate for 14 days to avoid spreading the virus. Mild COVID-19 symptoms can be treated at home and may include:

For more severe illness, patients may require hospitalization. Treatments may include:

  • Antiviral therapy with remdesivir 
  • Corticosteroids 
  • Immunotherapy 
    • Monoclonal antibodies
    • Convalescent plasma
    • Immunoglobulin products
    • Interleukin inhibitors
    • Interferons
    • Kinase inhibitors
  • Antithrombotic therapy - anticoagulants and antiplatelet therapy 
  • High-flow nasal cannula (HFNC) oxygen 
  • Ventilation 

Ivermectin, an antiparasitic drug, is being studied as a potential treatment for COVID-19. Currently the available clinical data on the use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19 are limited and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends against the use of ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19, except in a clinical trial.

Colchicine, an anti-gout medication, is also being studied in a clinical trial to determine if short-term treatment with colchicine will reduce lung complications and the rate of death in COVID-19 patients. It is not currently approved for use in patients with COVID-19.

Current guidelines neither recommend nor advise against the use of vitamin C, vitamin D, or zinc. Zinc should not be taken in doses above the recommended daily allowance (RDA) due to the risk of toxicity. 

 

Hydroxychloroquine was touted as a possible treatment in the past, but studies to date have shown it to be ineffective with a high risk of fatal heart arrythmias, and it is not recommended.

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Reviewed on 2/1/2021
References
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

https://www.covid19treatmentguidelines.nih.gov/

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines.html

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/end-home-isolation.html

https://www.covid19treatmentguidelines.nih.gov/antiviral-therapy/ivermectin/

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2767593