COVID-19: What Your Test Results Mean

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 COVID-19: What Your Test Results Mean - CDC (09/28/2021)

COVID-19: What Your Test Results Mean

If you test positive for COVID-19

Take steps to protect others regardless of your COVID-19 vaccination status

Stay home.

Isolate at home for at least 10 days. Stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home.

Get rest and stay hydrated.

If you develop symptoms, continue to isolate for at least 10 days after symptoms began and until you do not have a fever without using medications to reduce fever.

Stay in touch with your doctor.

Contact your doctor as soon as possible if you are an older adult or have underlying medical conditions.

Contact your doctor or health department about isolation if you
  • Are severely ill or have a weakened immune system.
  • Had a positive test result followed by a negative result.
  • Test positive for many weeks.

If you test negative for COVID-19:

  • The virus was not detected.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19:

  • You may have received a false negative test result and still might have COVID-19.
  • Isolate from others.

If you do not have symptoms of COVID-19 and you were exposed to a person with COVID-19:

  • You are likely not infected, but you still may get sick.
  • Contact your doctor about your symptoms, about follow-up testing, and how long to isolate.
  • Self-quarantine for 14 days at home after your exposure.
  • If you are fully vaccinated, you do not need to self quarantine.
  • Contact your doctor or local health department regarding options to reduce the length of your quarantine.

A negative test result does not mean you won't get sick later.


This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider. Make sure you discuss any questions you have with your health care provider.