COVID-19 Positive Test and Negative Test
COVID-19 Positive Test
- My child tested positive for COVID-19. What should I do now?
If your child tested positive, they should stay home for 5 days and isolate as much as possible from other people in the home, ideally in a separate room. If they must be around others in the home, they should wear a well-fitting mask. Continue taking precautions for a full 10 days, including having your child wear a mask when in public and avoiding travel.
- If my child tested positive, but I or other family members didn’t, what precautions should I take?
If your child tested positive, all family members are considered “exposed.” The guidelines for people who have been exposed to COVID-19 are different, depending on whether or not (and when) you’ve been vaccinated or if you’ve had the virus recently. In general, you should take precautions for a full 10 days, including wearing a mask when you are in public. Visit the CDC website for more guidelines about COVID-19 isolation and quarantine.
- How can I safely provide care at home?
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your face.
- Don’t share personal items such as pillows, drink glasses or kitchen utensils.
- Do not permit visitors who do not have an essential need to be in your home.
- Mask when caring for your child and, if they are over two and can take their masks off, have the child mask as well.
- How long does my child need to be kept at home?
Current CDC guidelines recommend that your child should be kept at home for 5 days from the onset of symptoms AND they have not had a fever for at least 24 hours without fever reducing medicine AND their symptoms are improving. If your child isn’t experiencing symptoms, start counting from the day after they tested positive (the day you received the positive test result is day 0).
- My child had a positive COVID-19 test. When can they go back to school?
Your school district and/or public health department will give you guidance on return to school criteria. Usually, the child cannot go back to school for a minimum of 5 days after symptoms began. After symptoms begin, the child must wear a well-fitting mask for a full 10 days any time he or she is around others at home or in public, including school.
COVID-19 Negative Test
- My child had a negative COVID-19 test. Can they go back to school?
Public health departments set the rules for when students can return to school. Your child’s school will use these rules and the information from your provider to decide when someone with a negative test can go back to school. In general, patients that have a negative test and are fever free for at least 24 hours without fever reducing medications will be able to go back to school. However, some exceptions may occur and you should follow the guidance from your child’s school.
- My child had a negative COVID-19 test. Can they still have the illness?
Like other medical tests, COVID-19 tests are not 100% accurate all of the time. Many variables can create what is called a “false negative” test. Based on a child’s symptoms and current illness, a health care provider may be able to determine if the test result should be considered accurate or if further precautions or testing are necessary.
Also, a negative test only indicates that COVID-19 was not detected at the time of the test. If a child develops new or continued symptoms following a negative test, another test may be needed and you should inform your provider of these changes.