With COVID-19 tests becoming more accessible, it’s important to know when to get tested.
When should I get tested?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC), not everyone needs to be tested.
A person should be tested if they:
Are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms
Have come in close contact with someone suspected to have COVID-19
Have been referred to get tested by their local/state health department
Individuals are advised to wait three days after exposure before getting tested for COVID-19.
When do I need to quarantine?
If a person tests positive for COVID-19, they should quarantine for 14 days immediately.
While the term “quarantine” has been used as a general term for stopping the spread of COVID-19, the CDC lays out the concept of quarantine into scenarios.
If a person comes in close contact with someone with the virus, they should quarantine for 14 days after the date of contact.
If a person lives with someone who has contracted the virus, they should also quarantine for 14 days after the person with COVID-19 began home isolation.
If a person lives with someone with COVID-19 who they provide direct care for and cannot isolate from, they should quarantine for 14 days after the person with COVID-19 meets the criteria to end home isolation. For example, if the person’s quarantine began on the 1st of September, the caretaker’s quarantine should begin on the 10th and end on the 24th.
What's the difference between quarantine and isolation?
It’s common to use the terms “quarantine” and “isolation” interchangeably, but the CDC says that they are different.
According to the CDC, the purpose of quarantine is to keep someone who might have been exposed to the virus away from others. This means that even if a person is suspected to have been in contact with a carrier of the virus and tests negative, they should still be quarantined, as symptoms can appear anywhere from 2-14 days after contracting COVID-19.
Isolation is for those who have tested positive for the virus. It entails staying away from others, including those they live with.
How do I get a test on campus?
The Graves Gilbert Clinic is currently offering rapid antigen tests, which give results in 20 minutes, antibody tests, which give results in 24 hours, and PCR tests, which give results in 2-4 days. They are currently testing from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. GGC at WKU can be reached at 270-745-2273.
If I’ve had COVID-19, when is it safe to be around others?
The CDC states that it is safe to be around others after:
10 days since symptoms first appeared AND
24 hours with no fever (without the use of fever reduction medication) AND
Other symptoms of COVID-19 improving.
For more information on COVID-19 protocol, visit the CDC’s coronavirus website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.
For more information on WKU specific COVID-19 protocol, visit Healthy on the Hill.
Jacob Latimer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @jacoblatimer_.