"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Home COVID tests now take longer to point out a positive result

January 10, 2024 – Some health care providers warn that after experiencing COVID symptoms, tests may now take longer to supply a positive result.

Rapid tests that individuals typically use at home may not turn into positive until the 4th day after symptoms appear. At the start of the pandemic, many rapid tests delivered positive results after only one or two days of symptoms.

“It actually pushes back the time when people’s COVID tests come back positive. So some people test on day one and day two and say, 'Oh, it's negative, I don't have COVID,'” said Elizabeth Hudson, DO, regional chief of infectious diseases for Kaiser Permanente Southern California Los Angeles Times. “If they were to test themselves probably a few days later, the likelihood that it was actually COVID would be pretty high.”

The CDC still does advises that individuals who get anything out of it 11 common COVID symptoms E.g. fever or cough, test immediately. When using a rapid at-home test, also known as an antigen test, anyone who receives a negative result should take the test again after 48 hours, the CDC says. Another option is to do a more sensitive test, called a PCR test.

For people who know they have been exposed to COVID but do not have symptoms, the CDC's instructions for testing are slightly different. If there are no symptoms but known exposure to COVID, people should wait at least five full days to get tested.

For people without symptoms who take two rapid tests at home 48 hours apart and the test is negative both times, the CDC recommends taking a third test an additional 48 hours later.

People who test positive should isolate themselves and take others with them Precautions, including contacting a health care provider to find out whether certain treatments, such as taking antiviral medications, are needed, the CDC says. People who have been exposed but do not have symptoms should take precautions such as wearing a mask 10 full daysinstructs the CDC.

One possibility that positive results may be longer in coming could be due to the immunity people have built up through vaccinations or previous infections at this point in the pandemic, Hudson said Just. Going to a health care provider to get the more sensitive PCR test would likely produce a positive result sooner for infected people, Hudson said.

Antigen tests are roughly accurate 80% of the timein comparison with a 95% accuracy rate of PCR tests, in accordance with 2022 FDA information.

Free home COVID tests can still be ordered online on the federal government website COVID.gov. Adults who are uninsured or have certain insurance such as Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans Affairs coverage, or Indian Health Service coverage may be eligible for free testing and free virtual medical appointments if they test positive Home test for treatment Program. The CDC is now also offering a special website to search for free COVID testing nearby.

The Latest CDC data shows that 12% of all COVID tests were positive within the last two weeks of December.